It is said that Sidney Pike (1858-1923) lived a Bohemian life, flitting from place to place, and making most of his money painting the grounds of stately homes for their owners. Still, he had time to elope with the daughter of the publisher of the London “Evening Standard” newspaper, with whom he had six children. No doubt as part of his settling down, he began exhibiting at some of the top London venues, including the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the Royal (OI). He even became a painter of Christmas cards. However, he is mainly known for his landscapes and rural genre scenes, although he did the occasional human and animal portrait, coastal, and hunting scenes. He is listed in all the major art reference books, including Benezit’s “Dictionaire des Peintres.”
In this delightful pastoral painting, it is easy to see why Pike was so sought after for painting the grounds of manor houses. He had a knack for picking out the best elements in these places and bringing them to his work in a manner that allows us to just sit back and enjoy them.
Pike placed an outbuilding that was used for stabling farm animals to the left. Before this thatch-roofed enclosure is a small herd of sheep resting in the grass. Adding an air of spring, he placed flowering trees that capture not only the light but the ambiance of this special place.
The artist used a limited, wisely chosen color palette. The grays of the sheep and the farm structure harmonized beautifully with the greens and pinks of the landscape. The painting ends up being a quintessential work of a romantic soul, and thereby captures our hearts.
It is housed in its original Victorian wood and gesso frame. The frame has a simplistic design, with only one narrow border of decorative gesso. However, this simplicity suits the painting very well.
The painting is in its original, excellent condition. There is a slight degree of crazing to the paint as the paint was applied thickly in places. It is fully signed in the lower left corner with the artists name and date of 1895.
The frame is in excellent condition as well, although there are a few minor losses of gesso. The frame might have been re-gilded at one time or another.
It measures 17-1/4 inches wide by 13-1/4 inches high, including the frame.