This watercolor most likely depicts La Fontaine's fable of The Hawk and the Lark (Book IX, Fable XVIII). The lark tries to enchant the hawk with its beautiful song, and thereby prevent its death. In 1879, Antony Roux, a wealthy collector from Marseilles, commissioned several well-known artists - Ziem, Baudry, Delaunay, Hébert, Lami, Gérôme, Rosa Bonheur, Moreau and Harpignies to paint a series of watercolors illustrating La Fontaine's Fables. Moreau's watercolors are now among his most well-known works. Our watercolor may have been one of Harpignies's entries for Roux's project, and his interpretation of the fable represented what he did best - a realistic depiction of the French landscape.
This watercolor has been authenticated by Robert Hellebranth.