The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

Landscape with Horse, Sheep and Rabbits by Ivor Powell

10. Landscape with Horse, Sheep and Rabbits

25.4 x 30.5cm. Daler Board with home-made reversed frame

NLW(PG 5903)

This is a difficult painting to locate in Ivor's development. As a composition, it stands alone. Its reversed home-made frame, its use of a quarter of a large Daler board and its treatment of the sky - all indicate an early date of composition. If so, it seems to represent an exploration of a way of treating his subjects which he did not take further to any significant extent. In extending the range or scope of his art, and with no models to follow, a number of possible strategies seem to have presented themselves to him, but not all satisfied him equally. Setting his central horse in a yellow or golden circle suggests that he had a specific narrative purpose in mind. He may have seen some of William Blake's work (whose Ancient of Days, for example, appeared within the circle of the Sun), and he may have considered taking his own work in this symbolic direction. Certainly, the sheep, the rabbits and the horse seem to have a symbolic rather than natural presence, and the caravan in the right distance, with its smoking chimney indicating occupation, seems to confirm the view that his theme is the human relationship with nature. In his youth, Romany caravans were seen as providing homes for people who lived apart from society but in nature. It is fitting that, given his own particular love of horses, he should have given one pride of place in his composition.

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