Fox and Goats, 1881, Oil on canvas, 18 x 14 1/8” (45.7 x 35.6 cm), ALL#4011. Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946), British, Naturalized U.S. Citizen, 1931
A mother goat wearing a leather collar, backed up against a cliff, defends her two kids against a fox. Camouflaged by thick vegetation, the predator has come upon his prey rather suddenly. The wrinkled muzzle of the fox suggests the goats are getting a frightening view of its sharp canine teeth. The positioning of front and back legs shows the fox in motion, ready to pounce or retreat depending upon the goat’s next move. Whatever else that move may be, it won’t be surrender—she will fight to the death to protect her young.
In the background (the valley below the cliff) there is a barely discernible cabin roof with smoke emitting from a chimney. The goats will find safety if they can make it back.
Signed E. E. Thompson, Seton painted this work while attending the Royal Academy in London, years before assuming the more familiar form of his name.
Credit Line: Academy for the Love of Learning, Santa Fe, New Mexico. All rights reserved. Reproduction permission.