HERRING, After John Frederick (1795-1865)
London: B. Gambart & Co, and Goupil, Vibert & Co. of Paris, 15 March 1849. Grey-toned aquatint, by J. Harris, 'Gambart & Co. London' blindstamp to lower left (expert repairs to upper margin). Image: 17 3/4 x 27 3/4; sheet: 23 1/4 x 32 1/4 inches.
A large scale print of a brilliantly realised farmyard by moonlight
'Night' is a beautifully engraved image from John Frederick Herring's series of farm scenes. 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 this superb, evocative scene, all the light is provided by the moon which is probably full as the barnyard seems qute active. Furtive figures move around in the silvery light, humans and animals well known to and comfortable with one another, all immersed in but not cognizant of the strange, wonderful night.