Around 1889 pastel became Clausen's preferred sketching medium. At this time, he began to use sketchbooks containing rough brown papers that were newly available from artists' suppliers. Recognizing the limitations of monochrome graphite-based media, he found that these encouraged him to think in colour at the commencement of the creative process. Among his first notes of this type are a series of brickyard and sheepfold drawings executed at the same time as studies for The Breakfast Table (private collection), his Royal Academy exhibit of 1891. Clausen returned to the open fields in 1892 with a further series of pastel studies for Evening Song (private collection), his principal exhibit of 1893. These dramatic drawings of skies at dusk were consulted when he came to later oils like Harvest and The Plough (both private collections), 1895, which reveal his continuing interest in the work of Jean-François Millet. It is devoid of figures, and derives its impact from the dark richness of newly ploughed fields- conveyed by the rapid cross-strokes of Paynes Grey and Davy's Grey, which characterise the present work. Other pastels from the same series are in the British Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts.
We are grateful to Professor Kenneth McConkey for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.