Hampstead Fine Arts proudly presents “The Great Escape”, painted in 1866 by the English master Henry Leonidas Rolfe, who was born in 1824 and died in 1881. This piece is an oil painting depicting two hawks fighting over a captured bird, who has made a timely escape from their clutching talons in the midst of their violent squabble. In addition to the three birds, Rolfe positioned this diorama on what appears to be the bank of a pond, and the fleeing fowl is making good its escape into the tranquil waters below. The captured movements and bright coloration of the duelling birds set against the bright, almost cloudless sky, creates a stark contrast with the dark, sombre tones of the lucky escapee as it plunges into the murky pond. The predominant mood is somewhat melancholy, and the visual effect is elegant yet visceral. The pastel colours and mild tones Rolfe uses are easy on the eye, with each technical element contributing to the mood, meaning and aesthetic sensation of the artwork. The feeling conveyed by this piece is one of captivation with the struggle between the clashing eagles, as well as a mischievous relief at the escape of the prey. As an artist, Rolfe had a fondness for countryside themes, and frequently used rural and animal scenes as the subjects of his compositions. This piece will suit the discerning client who appreciates life, excels against adversity and has a sense of humour in the face of struggle.