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Highland Drovers

Oil on Canvas
30” x 50”

Edward R. Breach

(British fl. 1868 – 1886)


Edward Breach was a London painter of sporting -scenes, cattle, genre and landscapes. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, British Institute, and Suffolk Street between 1868 and 1886.

Edward Breach’s painting Highland Drovers, is an impressive work by the artist, depicting drovers on horseback driving a herd of cattle from the highlands to the lowlands, assisted by their collie dogs. This practice was called transhumance, which is the seasonal relocation of stock from the lowlands in late spring to higher pastures, to allow the better land for hay and other crops and the opposite in late autumn. This wonderful composition in which the hardy highland cattle take centre stage, as they leave the rugged hills behind them and head for the lowlands for the winter months. The drovers are wearing the traditional highland bonnets, which were knitted, washed and stretched over large dinner plates, to give them their enormous size to protect the wearers from the harsh elements. The cattle are the hardy West Highland or Kyloe, named after the kyles, which were the narrow straits of water, the cattle were often driven across to get them to market.

Edward Breach has used a loose and fluid brush-stroke in his painting and in doing so has successfully rain. Mists hang over the distant hills and the stars of the show, are the lighter cows illuminated by shafts of sunlight, escaping through the gaps in the clouds.


© Sutcliffe Galleries 2022


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