Brown Hare at Sunset
Fine Art Watercolour Paper
Size: 275mm x 370mm
Original Painting Medium: Pastel
Scientific Name: Lepus europaeus
Region: United Kingdom
Hares are handsome creatures, and my pastel sketch of a hare at sunset was a pleasure to portray.
‘Mad as a March Hare’ refers to the boxing antics of hares during Springtime. During Spring a male hare, known as a buck, can often be seen chasing a doe, female. If the female is unreceptive: in order to defend herself, she will sometimes retaliate by standing on her hind legs and appear to engage in a boxing fight with the buck.
The Brown Hare is the harbinger of Spring and is held in high esteem by many people. Country folks have considered them mystical and mysterious animals, and for hundreds of years, there have been many old customs and beliefs associated with hares. Hares can be found portrayed in carvings and drawings within churches and cathedrals; they are often depicted gazing up at the moon.
The Brown Hare is found in most parts of Britain but numbers decreased drastically due to hunting and the industrialisation in farming during the 70s and 80s. The hare is a rare sight, especially in Ireland, where it is hunted with dogs, and it is almost absent from the Scottish Highlands, where they are slaughtered in the 1,000s in order to protect the grouse shooting moors. After the water vole, it is the species of mammal in Britain that has undergone the greatest decline in numbers and it has now been added to the list of vulnerable species.
Despite this hares continued to be shot, hunted, and coursed across the UK simply for ‘fun and sport’. Unlike all other ‘game’ species, there is no close season. In England, Brown hares now have legal protection but in Ireland ‘hare coursing’ sadly still continues.