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April 26, 2008
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(Contains: nudity and violence/gore)
This is a classic. Not a masterpiece, that's reserved for the likes of George Bellows, but I consider it a classic painting nevertheless. This is a painting I never used in either my books or booklets. It was painted by an Englishman, now long dead, depicting the arranged fights between two women in England starting during the 1700's and ending in the late 1800's. It was titled: 'Outdoor Pugilism' but for the 'DA' Site I re-named it with a more obvious title. There was no sport involved, instead it would be between two poor women who would fight until one was knocked out - Winner take all. It was brutal, carnal, and no longer continues, except for the underground matches in the U.S. Europe and Asia. This very talented artist did a number of these works and lived in the fear that his wife would find out about his secret passion. To my knowledge, she never did. But we have. For what that's worth. To me, a lot. He only signed it with his initials: T.G. 'Nuff said by me. Drew.
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.
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:iconconsort2:
consort2 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013
Great art, great punch and, if she can stagger to the scratch with a swollen jaw, great recovery by the raven. Come back,FGM, all is forgiven!
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:iconstephanieboxer:
stephanieboxer Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
I think this is a fantastic picture capturing the drama, brutality and all that is good in fist fighting with the involvement of the crowd
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:icondrewhammond:
drewhammond Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Well, it was painted by an artist in your country. Peter, in a comment above thinks they were from South Yorkshire. I hope you will add this to your 'DA Favorites' section. Drew.
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:iconstephanieboxer:
stephanieboxer Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013

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?

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:icondrewhammond:
drewhammond Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013
Well, I've refereed a number of underground bare fisted female fights and they don't last very long.  Broken noses, fractured cheek bones and ribs, and bleeding from the nipples blood bloated breasts pretty much ends the fight.   My main job was to stay out of the way, or break up clinches, or count to ten.  Nothing left to fantasy - When you get that first shock of a bare fist slamming into your nose you realize that you are not in a noble sport, but instead a nasty, brutal, bloody fight for survival.  Drew.
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:iconstephanieboxer:
stephanieboxer Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013
Wow, had did you get caught up in refereeing such fights. The only such fights I have seen have been spontaneous because of an argument. Sure they do not last long. I have heard that such fights do take place in the UK but I have no idea where. Despite everything you sound a bit  squeamish Drew. I used to cut up badly and have broken my nose several times and once my jaw. Sure it is painful but you recover. Recovering self belief and dignity is more difficult
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:icondrewhammond:
drewhammond Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013
I'm not squeamish, being ex-Air force, an ex-pilot, and an ex-boxer, I have a warrior mentality.  However, as concerns fighting women, I really like and admire them, and have no problem with them getting hurt - That's part of the fight game.  What I don't like is them getting damaged.  And in that there is a big difference.  I can handle hurt bad like bleeding from the nipples hurt, but broken noses and fractured faces and ribs make me wince - And that is damaged.  Therefore, I won't be a part of bare-fisted fights any more.  Drew.   
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:iconstephanieboxer:
stephanieboxer Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013

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

Steph

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:icondrewhammond:
drewhammond Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013
You're the same age as me.  I'll be brief as I just got through running six miles, before it gets hot here in Los Angeles, and am tired, want to take a shower, and take a nap.  I wrote some of the finest illustrated novels (Eric Stanton was one of the artists I commissioned) of fighting women (and some men) decades ago, then published them and sold them through mail order.  Those in England liked them before they caught on here in the States.  So I was invited to stay at various homes in England whenever a major underground series of female fights were commissioned.  A lot of the women fought for money and others for sport.  I would supply the EVERLAST 'Pro Boxing Gloves', mouthpieces, and at times EVERLAST female boxing shorts (They don't make them any more).  And as a ex-boxer (For a short time when I was in my teens) asked to Referee.  Don't do any of this any more.  Drew.     
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(2 Replies)
:iconpeterws:
peterws Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012
I`ve had a look at websites concerning early women`s boxing. It was quite widespread. There are many stories; in one, a French nobleman had a fight with a female who, understandably beat him! He married her . . .!! In one female brawl, a contestant was so badly beaten by her opponent she was in danger of death; her husband (also her second) was telling her to get up and fight. The crowd stopped the carnage continuing. The Irish fighters were the best, I believe.

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
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