1. New Forest Cow
17.5 x 23cm. Coarse-grained Daler Board with re-used glazed black frame
Ivor wrote the title on the reverse. This is, perhaps, his first painting, composed c. 1963, when he was 54. He based it on his experience of the New Forest in Hampshire, where he spent a number of holidays to be near friends who had moved to the area. What made the New Forest landscape so attractive to him was its unfenced spaces, where both animals and people were able to roam freely together. There was something of the Garden of Eden about it. He could share the landscape with the animals, without fear of trespass, and view them in an unfettered state. There were a number of places where he was able to approach Highland cattle and admire them. The animals were so used to visitors that they were not disturbed in the least by their presence. The subject of this painting seems quite content to gaze back at the person who was making a visual note of it. By the standards of his later work, this painting seems unfinished yet, through it, he took important steps towards his later fluency. The simple form of the cow is entirely at home in its landscape and his consistent technique, building up his picture with many thin layers of acrylic, gives a unity and integrity to the whole work. The seeds of what was to come were already here.