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John Wootton 1683-1764
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John Wootton 1683-1764

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A black groom holding a lady’s side-saddled hunter; she stands holding her hat, gloves and riding crop with her spaniel and Italian Greyhound. There is a view of theBanqueting House beyond and in the distance is St. Paul’s Cathedral.

 

Oil painting on canvas 21 x 17 inches, and contained in its fine carved and gilded frame.

 

Dateable to circa 1735

 

Wootton is without peer as the most accomplished and successful British equestrian painter of the first half of the 18th century, and who has left us a rich heritage of equestrian portraiture and sporting painting. Working for the most exalted clients at court, he was a keen follower of hounds and an habitué of Turf. The present painting shows the artist in a middle (c.1735) date in his illustrious career, when his palette was relatively lower in tone.

The collaboration between Wootton and another artist, Gawen Hamilton, which is evidenced here is not unusual in the artist’s oeuvre. He was a frequent collaborator with his contemporaries such as Charles Jervas, William Hogarth and others; many of them were members of the Beefsteak Club.

The present painting is an interesting and unusual composition by Wootton; it has been suggested that the scene may be an illustration of a literary or theatrical scene – perhaps Richardson’s “Pamela” which was also illustrated by Joseph Highmore in the famous set now in the FitzWilliam Museum, Cambridge.


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