About this artwork

During the 1890s, Hornel moved away from the realism of his early work to a more consciously decorative form of representation. He was influenced by the work of the French painter Monticelli, whose paintings he encountered in the International Exhibitions of 1886 and 1888 in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Hornel took on the decorative style of Monticelli, which had a flatness similar to Japanese prints. Here, Hornel has used a typically flat Japanese composition and high horizon. The figure and goats are painted in thick impasto. The subject of the picture appears almost secondary to the abstract arrangement of the colours and forms which overwhelm the picture area. It may have been inspired by Arthur Melville’s ‘Audrey and Her Goats’ (Tate) of 1883-9, which was based on Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’.

  • title: A Girl and Goats
  • accession number: NG 2145
  • artist: Edward Atkinson HornelScottish (1864 - 1933)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1891 - 1892
  • measurements: 39.00 x 32.00 cm (framed: 60.00 x 53.50 x 10.50 cm)
  • credit line: Bequest of Sir James Lewis Caw 1951
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Edward Atkinson Hornel

Edward Atkinson Hornel

Hornel as a young artist was closely associated with the Glasgow Boys. This group of artists concentrated on capturing naturalistic light effects especially in their distinctive paintings of figures in landscapes. Hornel's interest in strong colour applied with a palette knife resulted in densely patterned networks of strokes which became a feature of his later work. He collaborated on several decorative paintings with his friend George Henry which reflected their interest in folklore. The two artists also travelled to Japan in 1893. Hornel returned to his adopted home Kirkudbright and concentrated on commercially successful paintings of children in the Galloway countryside.