HERRING, John Frederick (1795-1865) aquatinted by Thomas SUTHERLAND (1785-1838)
St. Patrick, the Winner of the Great St. Leger, at Doncaster, 1820.
[London]: W. Sheardown and Son, [no date but 1825]. Colour-printed aquatint by Thomas Sutherland, finished by hand and heightened with gum arabic. Printed on wove Whatman paper. State i, later republished by J. Fuller in a book. A stunning impression in fine condition. Expert repairs to the margins. Image size: 12 1/4 x 16 1/8 inches. Sheet size: 15 5/8 x 20 7/8 inches.
This magnificent portrait of St. Patrick, Sir E. Smith's celebrated racehorse who won the Great St. Leger Stakes in 1820, is considered one of Herring's most accomplished sporting portraits.
Herring is 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 Herring 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 eventually he 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, when he worked for a short time 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 the sporting printsellers and the sporting magazines. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists; he was elected a member of the latter society in 1841. While in later life he painted a number of subject-pictures, it was as a portrait-painter of racehorses that Herring earned his fame, and no great breeder or owner of racehorses is without some treasured production of Herring's brush.
In 1825 The Doncaster Gazette commissioned Herring to paint a series of portraits of the winners of the St. Leger Stakes between 1815 and 1824. Aquatinted by the renowned engraver Thomas Sutherland, the series is considered to be Herring's most accomplished work. The suite, which was comprised of a set of 10 portraits of the winner's and their Jockeys, was first published by W. Sheardown and Sons. The prints proved so popular that they were later republished and expanded by S. & J. Fuller, who published a book including Herring's prints of the St. Leger stakes. This magnificent print of St. Patrick with his Jockey is a rare example of the early first state of this print published by Sheardown. It is a magnificent rich impression with fresh early colour and superb highlights.
Lane, British Racing Prints p.121; Mellon, British Sporting and Animal Prints 96; Siltzer, The Story of British Sporting Prints , p.145; Muir, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Engraved Works of J. F. Herring, Senior (1795 to 1865), p. 84.