For another viewpoint. The following tome is from Barbara, the owner of the site: 'Combative Women': "We don't have much to imagine with this remarkable piece of art. We have here pictured a bare-knuckle boxing match from the early portion of this century (although the work is probably much more contemporary). This is "reference art" at its finest: an attempt to recall the great art of the past while substituting elements of a particular interest or fantasy. You've doubtless scene artworks of two men fighting like this: bare knuckled, in a make- shift ring, in front of a blood-thirsty crowd. The very pulse of the work is intensely desperate: the fighters are probably poor and needing the bit of money one could get from such weekly combat. The crowd, working-class and frustrated by its long and hard week of work, is desperate for the catharsis that the blood and violence will bring. Except that these two fighters have long hair that's put up and... well... they have breasts. LOL These are women. In fact, there IS a historical accuracy in the work: women did box and "free fight" in front of working class crowds for money during the late 18th and 19th centuries and could make quite a bit of money doing it (compared with their less than subsistence wages). And YES, they did often fight bare-breasted. These fights were long and bloody and many of the blows were aimed at the upper torso. Given the scarcity of medication and the fact that any upper garment they would normally wear would be somewhat dirty, a skin-breaking blow with such a garment on could cause a life-threatening infection. So the "healthy" alternative was topless boxing! Still, as it is rendered, this is fantasy art and amazing and powerful art it is! The virtuosity of the technique is obvious but what's more powerful is the sensuality and the energy of it all. For one thing, the body positions are highly eroticized. For another, the crowd - lo and behold, there are women in that crowd cheering on this unbelievably violent affair and they blood lust on their faces is even more prominent than those of the men. All of it, including the explicable bare breasts, simply adds to the eroticism of a wonderful piece of art!"
Years have passed since I first uploaded this painting. Since then I have commissioned a number of works, several of which I consider masterworks of Combative Women. After going through the lengthy trials and huge expense of the Act Of Creation, I have returned to this work with new found appreciation. As such, I stand corrected. In its own way, it is a masterpiece. Concerning the artist, the great tragedy, the bitter pity, is all of his fighting women artwork was of an underground nature. All, of which were never put on public display, and consequently collected by private collectors, this because he didn't want his wife to know of this peculiar fetish. Which, of course, I don't consider a fetish at all. Now that this Brit is gone only a few of his works have surfaced to be viewed by the general public. For this we should be grateful. This is the pick of the litter. Drew.
Although I boxed in some very rough places I never did bare knuckle like this. I always fantasised what it might be like. I suppose they must be the daughters of miners from that area. Wish I could draw like this
Where do you live Drew?
Thanks Drew. Well I would rather not be damaged but bones join up again. Anyway it is all history for me now since I am 64 and just wish I was 20 again and starting out. We had to take what we could get in those days but now it is much more respectable.
You did not say how you became involved in refereeing such fights and where they took place
The picture above is splendid. Captures the female form beautifully if that is the correct word. They look like they`ve done a shift in the mines, that`s how they dressed for that job in S Yorkshire. Until it was stopped.
Sorry about my long winded response. I`m impressed by this.
The above pict