An unusual find: a large French Folk art portrait of a much loved pair of French racing pigeons.
Unlike their British counterparts the pigeons have not been given pet names. Instead they are shown with their dates of birth 1896, and their races in 1898/1899 with positions gained, inscribed on two large stones to either side of the birds. Signed in paint indistinctly, centre bottom, and dated 1900.
French Folk Art School 1900.
Framed in a dark moulded frame .
Sight: 24.5” x 20” (62cm x 51cm)
Frame: 31" x 26” ( 79cm x 67cm)
We tend to forget that pigeon racing as a sport, was/is not restricted to the British Isles. This pastime has always had a great following in the middle and Far East, and Europe, in particular Belgium, Hungary, Romania and Poland. France was also a centre of pigeon racing.
Whilst the history and geography of sports in nineteenth and twentieth century France have been studied intensively over recent years, one sport – that of pigeon racing – had received virtually no attention. Alan RH Baker of Cambridge in his 2013 paper examines this neglected French leisure pursuit, detailing the clubs and shows how clubs were linked to communities in the coalfields and to immigrants from Belgium.
Pigeon racing clubs in Pas-de-Calais, France, 1870–1914
Alan R.H.Baker 2013.