Facts about the painting

Size 18" x 24"
Format Oil on Canvas
Signature Lower Left (amongst the stones)
Frame Not known

History of the painting

Date Auctioneer Lot Offer Price Sale Price
20 June 1995 Phillip's 57 Not known £13,000

Other observations

This is the first painting for about 5 years in a smaller size. Harry continued to paint many more paintings in his favourite larger size of 28" x36" but from this point onward they went interspaced with a variety of smaller sizes.

It is not clear which of the boys is carving his first cricket bat with a hand axe. My guess is Edgar with Ruth looking on from the bench which features in many paintings (see "The Young Shopkeepers 1997" and "Playing School 1893"). Ruth has grown up since we saw her last two years earlier. She is now 10.although it is possible that the girl is a friend of Edgar's visiting the house. It is probably Edwin (now 9) watching from the shed door, in much smarter clothes than normal. Perhaps he has just returned home from school.

The shed does not exactly match any of the other back yard scenes, although it may be the same shed that appears in "Feeding the Rabbits 1890". Two years would have been enough for some ivy to have grown up. I expect that the grinding wheel did not live outside but would have been moved outside for use.

There cannot be many children living in this country today that would go to so much trouble to craft their own cricket bat. A number of Harry Brooker's other paintings feature children using woodworking tools to fashion objects such as boats and play houses.

A good number of years later Harry painted "The Game of Cricket 1904", however by this time most of his children would have left home.