Plough TimeZoom In
Plough Time versoZoom In

Plough Time by Thomas Heath Robinson

This is one of several paintings, executed towards the end of his life, where one senses that Heath Robinson was working for his own delight and entertainment. Though divorced from the constraints of commercial illustrations, he had learned lessons from his long and successful career. The colour is bold and resonant and he takes full advantage of the potential for using complementaries: in this picture, the primary red of the boy's scarf sings out against the green of the grass and the bright orange and blue of the distant hillside creates a vivid impression of sun and scudding shadow. At the same time, the impact of Robinson's early black and white work remains vital: this is a piece which depends on bold gesture and strong silhouette.

There is also a wonderful pleasure in the ridiculous. Running well out of reach of the boy's spade is a tiny mouse - once we spotted this, the whole flavour of the painting became even more piquant.

Oil on canvas
Size Unframed:
19½ins x 26½ins
49.5cms x 67cms
Size Framed:
24ins x 31ins
61cms x 78.5cms
Signed with initials and dated 1952, lower right; label, verso