When Osborne was awarded the Taylor Scholarship of £50 in 1881, the largest award available to art students in Ireland, for his painting 'A Glade in the Phoenix Park', the judges, who included Sir Thomas Jones, P.R.H.A. and Henry Doyle, the Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, recommended that he continue his studies in an English or foreign school of art. Osborne chose to go to the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts at Antwerp, where he stayed for two sessions during the winter of 1881 and the summer of 1882. This venue was popular with English and Irish painters, and when Osborne enrolled for the 'Natuur' classes during the winter of 1881 there were thirty-eight other British students. Vincent Van Gogh was also an old pupil having attended for one session in 1886. The attraction for the students included the teaching classes of M. Charles Verlat, a specialist in animal painting and an exponent of a very tight Realistic style which became characteristic of the school during this period.
The present work was painted alongside his friend Joseph Malachy Kavanagh, whose 'Under the Shadow of St. Jacques, Antwerp' was also exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in 1883 (no.237).
(see J. Sheehy, op. cit., pp.14-16).
We are very grateful to Dr. Julian Campbell for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.