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French artillery horses embarking on a train by Henri Baud, c. 1919

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pastel and charcoal heightened with white on paper, 25 x 33,5 cm, signed, private collection

Henri Baud was a French artist serving as an artillery officer in the First World War. In 1915 he was on the Western Front, as an interpreter for colonel Claude Charlton of the 37th British Royal Artillery Division (information from Roderick MacLeod). The scene here shows French artillery horses on their way to the front. Most striking is the peace and relaxation of the horses during loading. They walk calmly onto the cart serving as loading bridge to the train carriage. Other horses are waiting for their turn. The soldiers must have ridden the horses at high speed to the railway station, because we see steaming bodies. The artist accurately rendered the complicated harness of the artillery horses, which pull the guns while ridden by soldiers. This historical scene has much documentary value.

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