Attributed to Joseph Fortune Seraphin Layraud (French 1834-1912), "La Batteuse" (The Threshing Machine), signed in pencil (twice) verso, oil on wood panel, 34x40 cm (13.4x15.7 in).
Sold as The Threshing Machine by this artist by Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury, July 16, 2007. Although we believe this is by Layraud (compare to his "The Sledgehammer" (1889) in our final picture. Signatures also comparable and appear to have been done quickly), we do not see enough in this work to be certain.
Most likely a sketch or preparatory work but with great composition and movement. Why the 2 pencil signatures on the reverse? Artists are often asked to sign previously unsigned works and this would be a quick way of doing so.
CONDITION: good; there is one small (2mm) paint-filled indentation approximately 6cm above the figure bending over in the blue skirt, which appears to be an old worm hole, and looks original (there when it was painted rather than re-touched); might benefit from a very light clean.
FRAME: Good, antique and probably original gilt gesso.