Chestnut farm horse standing in profile facing left margin.
LL black brush point Flora Scales
This painting possibly dates either from Flora Scales’s time at the W. Frank Calderon School of Animal Painting, London, England, which Scales attended 1908-1912, or from the 1920s in Nelson, New Zealand, when she was observed painting retired farm horses by her niece, Patience Tennent.
Last known location SPCA, Nelson, New Zealand, early 1980s - 2018, at which point it was lent to The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson, for the exhibition Flora Scales, 2018-2019. Enquiries by B. de Lange, March 2020, show it is no longer at the SPCA and its current location is unknown.
Letter from Primrose MacFarlane, Nelson, New Zealand, to B. de Lange, 05.05.1983, “You may already have heard from other sources that [Scales's] fine study of a 'Draught Horse' now hangs in the rooms of the SPCA in Nelson. The painting came into our home some time in the 1930s I think. My father, Richard Self, a clever horse artist himself, noticed this picture when he took some of his own to be framed, somewhere in Wellington. Eventually, the picture framer said that it had been in the shop for years, never collected. My father could have it, on loan, till such time as it was asked for. That time never came and when I was young it had a place of honour in the dining room. However, through moves and storage, it has so deteriorated as to now be not fit for restoring. I gave it to the SCF [Save the Children Fund], hoping they might be able to sell it and raise funds for their work, but after consultations with Nelson artists, they decided that its last resting place should be the SPCA."
In answer to questionnaire sent by B. de Lange 1983, Mrs MacFarlane wrote, "This painting was given to the SCF to auction. It was bought by Mrs Jessica Thomas, Nelson [in the 1980s] and is now hanging in the SPCA, 1 Bridge Street, Nelson. Some restoration work was carried out by Wendy Crampton, Nelson, February 1983."
Letter from B. Francois, Nelson, New Zealand, to B. de Lange, 28.06.1983, "Re Miss Scales painting, all I can tell you is that it was given to the SCF to sell by a Mrs McFarlane [sic], whose father, Mr Self, also a painter of horses, had admired it in a picture framer's shop where Miss Scales had left it to be framed many years earlier and had never claimed it. So he told Mr Self he could have it. It must have been after Mr Self’s death that it had fallen to the floor and been left lying there for years. For some reason it had glass over it and the glass had broken and cut into the picture badly and it was very mildewed. If it had been of a different period, Toss [Woollaston] was prepared to give us a goodly sum for it. He did try to get the glass off but it had cut in so badly, in doing so a good deal of the paint was removed. A friend [from the SPCA, Nelson, New Zealand] gave us $10.00 for it and another friend patched up the bald spots and removed as much of the mildew as possible and it now hangs in the SPCA rooms [in Nelson]. Three weeks ago, Mrs McFarlane (I conclude this must be the one who gave it to us) got it photographed by Mr Jan Zieman, Nelson."
Flora Scales in conversation with M. de Lange, 1983, looking at photographs of Untitled [Brown Horse] [BC001] and Untitled [Draught Horse] [BC002], "I often think what a dunderhead I was. I never once put a tree or blue sky above the animal."
Mandy Fenwick, equestrian, in correspondence with B. de Lange, 04.03.2020, “This is a chestnut farm horse. Heavier features suggest some Clydesdale. The horse has a white muzzle and a creamy coloured mane.”