In 1915 Lucy Kemp-Welch was commissioned by J.M. Dent to illustrate Black Beauty. Her atmospheric drawings ensured that the book remains one of the best selling children's illustrated books. The present work is related to a black and white drawing which the artist used as the headpiece to Chapter X, A Talk in the Orchard. The publication of Black Beauty proved to be a turning point in her career and it was in her oil paintings that she fully indulged 'the impulse to paint', explaining her motivation further 'Now as to the actual painting of animals - it is not the fondness for the animal which causes a man fully equipped with the power to paint - to forsake all else for this branch of art - but deep at the heart of him is that something which dictates that he shall do this, that he shall wait and watch and will go through anything for the sake of attaining that one scrap of knowledge - and all this before he can paint' (see L. Watley, loc.cit.).