T02372 Mr Russell on his Bay Hunter c.1740
Oil on canvas, 870×1108 (34 1/2×43 5/8)
Presented by Mr Paul Mellon KPE through the British Sporting Art Trust 1979
PROVENANCE ... C.B. Kidd, sold Sotheby's 23 November 1966 (169, repr.) bt Ackermann for Paul Mellon
EXHIBITED British Sporting Paintings, Fermoy Art Gallery, King's Lynn 1979 (3, repr. in col. on cover of cat.)
LITERATURE Egerton 1978, p.45, no.48, pl.17; Christopher Neve, ‘Gift from a Galloping Anglophile’, Country Life, 30 August 1979, p.585, fig.3
An old label on the back reads ‘Paternal Ancestor (Russell)’. Mr Russell, preceded by a hound, is portrayed in the hunting-field; he turns to face the spectator, revealing individual features and an alert expression which have together stimulated Seymour to one of his ablest and most sympathetic exercises in human portraiture. The sitter, who appears to be in his forties, has so far eluded precise identification. Given Seymour's continued association with Newmarket, a tentative suggestion is that he may be a junior member of the family of Admiral Russell (created Baron Shingay and Earl of Orford for his victory over the Dutch at La Hogue; d.1729), who acquired the manor of Chippenham Park, just outside Newmarket.
Details of costume, such as the firmly tied breeches-lacings and the buttoned leather strip above the knee to keep the breeches from riding up, are sharply observed and painted with Seymour's customary meticulousness.
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988