Keith Bell considers that this work may date from the period when Spencer was working on a series of small paintings and drawings recalling his war experiences in Macedonia. The only major picture from this time 'Travoys', 1919 (Imperial War Museum, London) also includes mules in the foreground. At the same time Spencer was also contemplating a separate painting based on this composition, probably like the two oils 'Scrubbing Clothes' and 'Making a Red Cross', which would therefore belong to a series of ideas for war subjects which Spencer worked on for the Ministry of Information as an official war artist. The motif of the hill with guillies was reused for the hillside of 'The Crucifixion' in 1921 (Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums).
We are very grateful to Professor Keith Bell for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.