HERRING, John Frederick (1795-1865); aquatinted by R. G. REEVE
Birmingham, the Winner of the Great St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster, 1830 68 Subscribers - 28 Started. By Filho da Puta, dam Miss Craigie by Orville. The Property of Mr. Beardsworth, To whom this Print by Permission is most respectfully dedicated by the Publishers, J.F. Herring and S. & J. Fuller
London & Doncaster: J.F. Herring and S. & J. Fuller, March 1831. Colour-printed aquatint by R.G. Reeve, finished by hand and heightened with gum arabic. An excellent impression in fine condition. Image size: 11 3/4 x 16 5/16 inches. Sheet size: 17 x 20 1/2 inches.
A fine print from the 'Winners of the Great St. Leger Series': a 'benchmark' sporting print in terms of the "quality of painting, engraving and printing" (Lane)
John Frederick Herring, senior "was born in Surrey in 1795... [He] spent the first eighteen years of his life in the city of London, where his father, an American whose parents were Dutch, was a fringe-maker in Newgate Street. As a child he showed an aptitude for handling both whip and pencil. Having married against his father's wishes, he went, without settled plans, to Doncaster, where he arrived during the races in September 1814, and 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. At first he did not succeed as an animal-painter, but executed some satisfactory work in coach-painting, which led him to aspire to drive a coach. For two years he drove the Nelson coach from Wakefield to Lincoln. He was afterwards transferred to the Doncaster and Halifax coach. While he was engaged on that road, his artistic powers, which he continually exercised, were discovered and appreciated, and he received many commissions to paint horses for gentlemen in the neighbourhood. In spite of increasing success as a painter of horses, he refused to hurriedly abandon his calling as coachman, and for some time drove the Highflyer coach between London and York. When eventually he retired from the road and settled at Doncaster, he immediately obtained very numerous commissions. It was as the portrait-painter of racehorses that Herring earned his especial fame, and no great breeder or owner of racehorses is without some treasured production of Herring's brush." (DNB). "In 1825 The Doncaster Gazette commissioned Herring to paint a series of pictures of the winners of the St. Leger starting in 1815... W. Sheardown and Sons of Doncaster published these brilliantly engraved prints (by Thomas Sutherland) in 1825... Messrs Fuller of London... continued the series until the mid-1840s. Fullers also published a similar series of Derby winners after Herring's paintings between 1827 and 1841... These prints provide a 'benchmark' in their quality of painting, engraving and printing which subsequent publishers attempted to emulate, but rarely with such success" (Charles Lane British Racing Prints p.120)
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.