Catalogue entry

T02356 JONATHAN GRIFFIN, HUNTSMAN TO THE EARL OF DERBY'S STAGHOUNDS 1813

Inscribed ‘J. Barenger. 1813-’ lower right
Oil on canvas, 40 1/16 × 50 (101.6 × 127)
Presented by Mr Paul Mellon KBE through the British Sporting Art Trust 1979
Prov: ...; anon. sale, Christie's 17 March 1967 (167 as ‘A huntsman in a green coat on a dappled grey hunter’), bt. Betts; Arthur Ackermann & Son Ltd., from whom purchased by Paul Mellon 1967.
Exh: XVIIIth and XIXth Century Sporting Paintings, Arthur Ackermann & Son Ltd., 1967 (12, repr.).
Lit: Egerton, 1978, p.233, no.251 (see also cat. no.252).

Jonathan Griffin is portrayed riding a dappled grey horse (probably Spanker), leaning back in his saddle to encourage hounds as they scramble over a hedge in the foreground on the left, while members of the hunt wait in the background on the right. The chief sitter (and probably his mount) can be identified from the portrait by Barenger of ‘Jonathan Griffin, Huntsman, on Spanker’ in the centre of a group of riders and hounds dated 1819 (coll. Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon; repr. Egerton, op.cit., pl.84); this picture was engraved by R. Woodman and published in 1823, entitled The Earl of Derby's Staghounds, with the names of the principal sitters lettered beneath their portraits. Griffin appears to be riding the same grey, Spanker (for which he reputedly paid eighty guineas, thereafter refusing all offers for him) in the 1813 as well as in the 1819 picture, the dark grey of the horse's coat in 1813 having naturally faded by 1819.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981