It was probably during the early months of 1883 that Osborne went to Brittany, an area which had long been popular with artists from Paris and Holland. Osborne had recently studied in Antwerp where his teacher was Charles Verlat, and the master's influence on his pupil can be seen in Osborne's detailed handling of tiles and brickwork in the street and market scenes and in his use of animal subject matter. However, Osborne's father was the animal painter, William Osborne and pictures of animals and children were predominate subjects throughout his career.
The present work was painted at Quimperlé during the summer of 1883. A later painting of 1884 Feeding the Chickens returns to the farmyard theme and Osborne wrote to his father on 12 October 1884 complaining that 'the fowl are very troublesome, and I have made some sketches but will have to do a lot more as they form rather an important part of the composition'.
(see J. Sheehy, Walter Osborne, National Gallery of Ireland Exhibition Catalogue, 1983, pp.19-21, 71).
We are very grateful to Dr. Julian Campbell for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.