A Portrait of a racing pigeon 'Stormy' by J Counsell signed and dated 1954, oil hardboard.
An attractive, colourful painting, the composition of which is reminiscent of the racing pigeon oils of Andrew Beer.
The painted inscription lists the pigeon's successes and the owner who bred and raced him, Mr W Middle.
This painting is typical of the style in which racing pigeons were painted in the early to middle 20th century. Often painted at near life-size, singly or in small groups, in profile view, the pigeon was shown standing on a ledge against an idealised background.
British Folk Art School mid 20th century.
Framed in a dark moulded frame .
Sight: 15.5” x 13” (40cm x 33cm)
Frame: 18.25" x 21” ( 46cm x 53cm)
For those interested in the background to the racing pigeon world, a very interesting article can be found on the internet entitled:
PIGEON RACING AND WORKING-CLASS CULTURE IN BRITAIN,
c. 1870–1950, by Martin Johnes, History Department, Swansea University
Pigeon racing was immensely popular amongst male industrial workers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article offers an overview of the history of pigeon racing in this period before moving on to explore the sport’s multiple meanings for those who took part.
Pigeon racing offered not only the thrills and excitement of racing but also the more sedate and intellectual rewards of breeding and rearing the birds. The pigeon loft was a masculine enclave and a retreat from the pressures of domestic life for some, although for others it was an opportunity to share time with their family.
As such, pigeon racing demonstrates the complexities of working- class masculinity. Pigeon keeping was also expensive, time consuming and required space. The article thus concludes by arguing that despite the agency workers were able to exercise over their leisure, they were still restricted by wider material constraints."