The foot-ball play oil on canvas, 99 x 125cm (39 x 49 3/16in).
Provenance : Purchased in Glasgow c1945, and by descent Exhibited : Probably the picture of the above title shown at the RSA in 1830, no 277 Note : Carse had painted a very similar composition in 1818 (in the collection of Dundee Museums and currently on tour at the World Cup in Germany), and a third 'football' picture, "The Doonies versus the Croonies", is in the Robertson Collection. These are among the earliest surviving pictorial records of the game of football. He also painted Leith races and exhibited a golfing subject at the RSA in 1827.
Carse was a pupil of illustrator David Allan. His work provides a link between Allan's earthy humour and the accomplished, subtle genre of Sir David Wilkie, whose early oils betray a kinship with Carse's 'Oldhamstocks Fair' of 1796. These Scots had been inspired by Dutch 17thc masters towards the 'poetry of common life', and Carse was drawn to village fairs, social gatherings and sporting events in search of incident. Despite his predilection for the prosaic, Carse's most ambitious work was a vast canvas of George IV landing at Leith but even this did not ensure sales, and he returned to Edinburgh from London where he was driven into penury in the 1830's.
Carse's football pictures recreate the 'stramashes' which could encompass whole villages when in the throes of a game, and the setting is probably fictional but derived from the East Lothian or Berwickshire towns he knew in his youth.