HERRING, John Frederick (1795-1865). Engraved by John HARRIS (1811-1865)
The Seasons. Summer
[Pl. 2] London: Published by Robert Graves & Compy, 1847. Colour-printed aquatint with additional touches of hand-colouring. Good condition apart from a skillfully repaired 3 1/4" loss in the top right corner, a few expertly mended tears in the margins, and two small losses in the bottom left and right corners. Some light soiling and slight discolouration of the paper due to age. Trimmed on all sides. Image size (including text): 15 3/4 x 27 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 20 1/8 x 29 1/2 inches.
As denoted by the title, this charming plate most likely comes from a series depicting the various seasons of the year.
Herring was an outstanding and imaginative artist who at an early age showed an aptitude for handling both riding whip and pencil. At a young age, fate took him to the Doncaster races, where he saw the Duke of Hamilton's horse, William, win the St. Leger. The sight inspired him to attempt the art of animal painting, in which he subsequently excelled. In addition to being a successful horse painter, Herring made his livelihood as a coachman, and for some time drove the "Highflyer" coach between London and York. When he eventually retired as a coachman, he immediately obtained numerous commissions and was able to devote himself entirely to his art. Herring had no education in art until he definitely set up as an artist, at which time he worked for a short period in the studio of Abraham Cooper, R.A. He painted an immense number of racing, coaching, and other sporting subjects, many of which were published by sporting print sellers and sporting magazines. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists, of which he was elected a member in 1841. As his career progressed, he began to focus on genre subjects and produced a number of sentimental images of farmyards and stables. Despite the appeal of these endearing later works, it was as a painter of racehorses that Herring earned his fame. A prolific engraver of sporting and military scenes, John Harris executed numerous plates after Herring's sporting, hunting and genre paintings.
Cf. Lane, British Racing Prints; cf. Dictionary of National Biography.