Two other versions of this picture are known to exist. A smaller one is in the Bearsted collection; the other, painted a year later in 1781, is currently in a private collection in New York. It is clearly related to this version, but set in a grander and more elegant panelled interior. Also painted for the Morse family, it has not only a similar frame identifying the sitters, but also an elaborate contemporary inscription on the back spelling out precisely how the picture was to be passed on from one member of the hunt to the next.
Philip Reinagle's long career encompassed portrait, landscape, sporting and animal painting, and it is for the latter that he is best known. As an artist, however, he is of particular interest for the fact that he was apprenticed to Allan Ramsay (1713-84) at fourteen, and remained his friend and assistant for life. Ramsay's stylishness and delicacy of touch is reflected in this work.
Stephen Deuchar, Sporting Art in Eighteenth-Century England, ?London 1988, p.91, fig.72
Andrew Moore and Charlotte Crawley, Family and Friends: A Regional Survey of British Portraiture, exhibition catalogue, Castle Museuim, Norwich 1992, pp.130-1
Diane Perkins, British Sporting Art, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery 1995, p., reproduced in colour p.