Commissioned from the artist in 1819 and thence by descent to The Rt. Hon. Earl Howe, P.C., C.B.E., 5th Earl, Penn House, Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
Connoisseur, December 1934, p. 396.
The Field, December 2, 1933, p. 1439.
Guy Paget, The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley, Leicester:
1931, No. 107.
JOHN E. FERNELEY, SNR., the son of a Leicestershire wheelwright and the youngest of six children, was discovered by the Duke of Rutland when the latter saw pictures Ferneley had painted on the side of his father’s cart. The Duke persuaded the Ferneleys to allow him to apprentice under the celebrated Benjamin Marshall in London, and it is documented that ₤200 was paid for three year’s training. Besides making copies of Marshall’s horse paintings which were reputed to pass for his master’s, he studied at the Royal Academy.
By 1810, Ferneley had settled in Melton Mowbray, the hunting epicenter of England, with his wife Sally Kettle where he lived out the rest of his days. Although from modest means, he was accepted as a friend by many of his titled patrons, and his house, Elgin Lodge, was the Sunday afternoon meeting place. He is known for his exceptional horse portraits, and after taking exchanging lessons from Sir Francis Grant, with whom he collaborated at times, his figures were as well-conceived. His color and composition are masterful, and comparable only with the work of Marshall and Stubbs.