The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

Cattle Market by Ivor Powell

54. Cattle Market

40.5 x 50.8cm. Canvas with home-made frame

NLW(PG 5868)

With only distant memory to guide him, this is probably Abergavenny Market, as he experienced it as a boy. In choosing to paint it, he took another step in recovering his past, and it is possible that the scene contains a narrative of a youthful experience. Perhaps the figure in the right foreground is Ivor doing the job of guiding the animals into the truck for transportation. Having satisfied the basic requirements to locate his scene - the shape of the auctioneers' shed and the top of St. Mary's Church tower in the background - he was free to compose as his subject dictated and, to ensure that the whole of his subject is visible and uncluttered, he adopted the elevated viewpoint traditionally taken by the narrative artist. His cattle form a kind of musical notation, with the bars of their pens as staves. They occupy their spaces, and relate to one another and their handlers, as aesthetic ideas, not as soiled or frightened animals needing firm control. The ground on which they stand is as pure and as richly coloured as the sky.

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