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The animal world has always taken a central role in Colville’s work. He has said how he thinks of animals as “kinds of angels”, that in contrast to human beings they are incapable of evil.
The dogs and cats that have been the artist’s family pets have often appeared in his paintings; horses and cows have also figured as subjects in his work as also, in two instances, have sheep. In Three Sheep Colville transforms the humble simplicity of these ruminant lives into a model of balance and contentment.