Bloomsbury - Winner of the Derby, by John Frederick Herring
Born in London in 1795, John Frederick Herring was a precocious, self-taught artist who demonstrated a great interest in sketching and drawing horse races. In 1815, the Doncaster Gazette engaged him to immortalize the annual winner of the St. Leger Stakes horse race. Thanks so such activities, and aided by the publication of the Gazette prints, the young artist made his talent recognized by wealthy customers and began his career as a painter of hunting scenes for the gentry. He became known as the "artist coachman".
In 1845, he was appointed animal painter to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, who assigned him to paint several of Queen Victoria's Arabian horses.
Bloomsbury, Winner of the Derby depicts a bay horse in a barn. The beautiful horse occupies the entire space of the painting, catching the viewer's attention by gazing directly at him. At the upper right corner, a large beam of light emphasizes the horse's musculature. In a graphic, linear, and detailed style, the artist plays with tones ranging from light yellow to brown and grey. The horse's skin is sketched splendidly, thanks to superb use of the brush and the effects of light on the animal's fur. The British thoroughbred racehorse "Bloomsbury" is obviously the center of attention. This painting was likely commissioned by Lord Chasterfield, who had acquired the horse from the Ridsdale stables in 1839 when Bloomsbury won two races: the Epsom Derby and the Ascot Derby.
Artist: John Frederick Herring
Technique: Oil on canvas
Size: 46.5 x 60.5 cm
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