[Two Clydesdale Horses and Rider]

Two Clydesdale horses, one white, one brown, moving away from viewer on a diagonal left, flanks visible. Both horses wear blind bridles. Young man, wearing blue with brown boots and white hat, rides the leading white horse side-saddle without saddle or reins.

c. 1917 1920
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas
Place Made
New Zealand

LL dark brown brush point Flora Scales

Verso Centre Right ballpoint (B) Jones

General notes

Purchased by current owner from C.V. Jones Antiques and Art Gallery, Armstrong Street North, Ballarat, Australia c.1988.

Dated in relation to Untitled [Homewards] [BC004], Homecoming [BC124], The Day’s Work [1] [BC129], Noon [BC137] and The Day's Work [2] [BC140].

Correspondence current owner with B. de Lange 20.03.2023, "I think this painting is beautiful and I just love the way the horses are relaxed and peaceful with their master. I sense the bond between the master and horses."


‘Flora Scales’ Flicker’ by Luke Smythe, written for florascales.com, 2023

“When Scales first took an interest in Impressionism in the mid-1910s, her rural scenes resembled those of William Calderon, with whom she had studied in London from 1908-1912. For a brief time following her studies she had also adhered to Calderon’s technique, but once back in New Zealand she had moved beyond it.

Calderon was a Naturalist painter, who in keeping with the tenets of that style, had steered a middle course between the clarity of academic painting and the looser, less definite approach of the Impressionists. As was typical for Naturalists, his palette relied heavily on earth tones, and he staged most of his scenes under clouded-over skies. Not so in the case of Scales, who soon embraced the softness of Impressionism, together with its more vivid palette, its sunlit staging, and its attentiveness to how colours are modified by changing atmospheric conditions.

Set Calderon’s A Private Trial (1890) [see Related artworks by other artists] alongside Scales’ Untitled [Two Clydesdale Horses and Rider] [BC144] (ca. 1917-20) and these distinctions become readily apparent. Not only is the former more chromatically subdued, and its detailing a good deal more acute, but Calderon’s approach to modelling was also more conventional than Scales’. Using so-called ‘value’ shading, he generated highlights and shadows by blending the hue he wished to modify with white or black.1 Scales did not abandon this technique, but she combined it with the method of ‘colour’ shading, for which Impressionism was renowned. Recognising that perceptions of a colour can be altered by shifting light conditions and by other colours in the vicinity, Impressionists often rendered highlights and shadows in completely different hues. This device is evident throughout Scales’ image, but is perhaps most strikingly apparent in her treatment of her horse rider’s hat. Rather than use black to darken the hat’s white to grey, she opted for a vivid shade of blue picked up from the sky overhead and the clothing of the rider below. Likewise, with the belly and the shadows of the rider’s white horse: again avoiding grey, she rendered both in the colour of the earth. Staying true to value shading, Calderon ignored such effects.”

1 In colour theory, ‘value’ is another word for ‘shade’. It refers to the amount of light or dark within a colour.

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