An image of The pigeon loft

Fred Leist

(Australia 1873 – 1945)

The pigeon loft

Location
Not on display
Further information

Throughout the war, messenger pigeons played a vital role in communications. It is estimated over 100,000 served with the British Forces, their speed and endurance saving countless lives. Pigeons were kept in mobile lofts behind the front line, then taken to the trenches in wicker baskets when needed.

Fred Leist depicts a horse-drawn loft, set within the desolate landscape of the Western Front, with drifts of snow and bare tree trunks highlighting the harsh conditions. The broad strokes of white paint that swathe the foreground accentuate the silhouetted figures of the pigeon handler and the courier about to embark on his motorbike. The delicate, rose-tinted sky and relative stillness of the scene conveys a sense of calm, despite the looming danger of their mission.

Place of origin
France
Year
1917
Media
Painting
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
63.4 x 76.2 cm stretcher; 82.7 x 95.0 x 5.0 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown oil "LEIST ... 17".

Credit
Purchased 1934
Accession number
843