(click image to enlarge)
George Clausen made a small number of lithographs during the period 1895 to 1907, and then abandoned the medium for nearly a decade. The early group rehearses favourite rural motifs, including labourers at work inside a barn, as is represented by the work included here. This lithograph probably relates to a painting of the same title that Clausen exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1896 (No 838). When he returned to lithography, in 1917, it was in order to create a series of images showing aspects of the production of guns, as one of the limited edition publications issued by the government during the First World War.
An impression of the present work was included in the second exhibition of the Society of XII, held at Messrs Obach & Co, 168 New Bond Street, in 1905. This society was founded in 1903 by Muirhead Bone to raise the status of printmaking, and he acted as its Secretary. In addition to Bone and Clausen, the original members were David Young Cameron, Charles Conder (died 1909), Edward Gordon Craig, Augustus John, Thomas Sturge Moore, William Nicholson, Charles Ricketts, William Rothenstein, Charles Shannon and William Strang. In addition, Alphonse Legros (died 1911) was made an honorary member. In 1907, the society was strengthened by the election of Francis Dodd (Bone’s brother-in-law), William Orpen and James Havard Thomas; in 1909, by the election of Ernest Cole; and, in 1910, by the election of Henry Lamb, Walter Sickert and Ian Strang (William’s son). The society’s final exhibition was held in 1915, by which time Messrs Obach had joined forces with P & D Colnaghi. Clausen contributed drawings to all eight of its exhibitions, and prints to three of them.