Edward Arthur WaltonBerwickshire Field-workers 1884

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Artwork details

Artist
Edward Arthur Walton (1860‑1922)
Title
Berwickshire Field-workers
Date 1884
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 914 x 609 mm frame: 1050 x 748 x 65 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1982
Reference
T03447
Not on display

Summary

This is one of the most important works that Walton produced while working alongside James Guthrie at Cockburnspath in Berwickshire. Walton and Guthrie were both members of the school of artists - including also John Lavery, Joseph Crawhall, George Henry and Edward Atikinson Hornel - known as the Glasgow Boys. Their commitment to realism led them to take an interest in the work of their contemporaries in France, and in particular Jules Bastien-Lepage, who exercised considerable influence on their developing style.

During the early 1880s Walton, along with the rest of the Glasgow Boys, rejected historical subject matter and academic finish and committed himself to painting contemporary, mainly rural subjects, working en plein air. In this work Walton is interested less in emphasising the back-breaking nature of the workers' task than in capturing the overall effect of heat and light. From the length of the sharply-defined shadows, it is evident that the picture was painted near midday in bright sunshine. The rich terracotta soil and the red bonnets give the picture a warmth which is offset by the slate-blue sky and the blue glint of the sickle in the woman's right hand. Walton applies his paints with the characteristic square brushstroke associated with the Glasgow School… (read more)

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