Sydney Lough Thompson

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1877, d.1973

Horses On The Quay

  • Presented by Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
  • Oil on canvas
  • 730 x 1040mm
  • 69/112
  • c. 1920
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The activity of the busy waterfront at Concarneau, a small sea-side village in Brittany, was often painted by Thompson who stayed in the town during the many times he lived in France. In this scene the horses wait patiently as the cart is loaded with fish. Although this is probably a studio work made from sketches and colour studies made outdoors, Thompson retains the sense of vibrancy, movement and immediacy of the scene. Born in Oxford, Canterbury, Thompson began studying at Canterbury College School of Art in 1895, as well as taking lessons from Petrus van der Velden (1837-1913). In 1900 Thompson travelled to London and Europe and studied at the Académie Julian, Paris. He returned to New Zealand in 1905, teaching at the School of Art from 1906 to 1911. Thompson then returned to Europe. Throughout his career he travelled regularly between New Zealand and Europe. He was honoured with an OBE in 1937. He died in Concarneau, France.

earlier labels about this work
  • The patient horses on the waterfront of the small French fishing village of Concarneau are the subject for this Impressionist-style work. Using visible brushwork and distinct patches of strong colour, Thompson captures the sense of light and atmosphere at the scene on the quay where the fish were unloaded from the fishing boats and taken by horse and cart to the fish-processing factory. This is probably a studio work made from outdoor sketches, but Thompson retains the sense of vibrancy and immediacy of the scene. It was first exhibited at Le Salon des Artistes Français in Paris in 1922 and the following year came to New Zealand with the artist.