An Autumn Morning

An Autumn Morning, 1900
James Aumonier (1832 – 1911)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 00170
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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An Autumn Morning

Aumonier is particularly known for his pastoral and landscape paintings, working in both oils and watercolour. This example shows a team of plough horses being led towards the viewer. Until the total adoption of mechanisation following the Second World War horses predominated on farms. They were cheaper to keep than the early steam powered farm machinery and far better at crossing rough ground. A skilled ploughman was valued and well paid.

Sir Merton Russell-Cotes knew Aumonier personally, describing him in his autobiography Home and Away as “a very kindly man, and of a very retiring disposition … He was a delightful man as a friend”.

Aumonier was born in Camberwell in London and sent out to work at the age of 14, initially as a textile designer. He self- funded his way through evening art classes and became a successful artist, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1870. He became an Associate of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-colours in 1876 and was one of the original members of the Institute of Oil Painters. In 1889 he was awarded a gold medal for water-colour in Paris, and a bronze medal for oil painting at Adelaide. He also received a silver medal at the Brussels exhibition in 1897.

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