After the end of World War I, Frances Hodgkins painted a series of watercolours while staying in the village of Great Barrington, in the Cotswolds. In each of these paintings, a large traction engine dominates the composition, while groups of farm workers feed wheat or other grains into a threshing machine. Others using pitchforks then hurl the stalks onto an ever-growing haystack on the right. The warm summer day would have been full of sound, the men’s voices shouting over the roar of the engine and the threshing machine, and the clatter of the elevator as it carried the released grain upwards, before it fell below, freeing the chaff to blow in the wind. There is a sense of timelessness to the scene, a return to age old traditions after years of war.
gouache, pencil and charcoal
Signed lower left: Frances Hodgkins; inscribed (on verso): white panel (in another hand) Thrashing, no 462 (in another hand)
Mrs Eric Newton, London, England, 1980.
Jetta Cornish, New Zealand, until 2014.
Iain Buchanan, Michael Dunn, Elizabeth Eastmond, Frances Hodgkins: Paintings and Drawings, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 1994| p. 115 (colour ill.)
Joanne Drayton, Frances Hodgkins: A Private Viewing, Godwit, Auckland, 2005| p. 174 (colour ill.)