James Ward

Portraits of Blackthorn, a Broodmare, with Old Jack, a Favourite Pony, the Property of E. Mundy, Esq.

1812

Artist
James Ward 1769–1859
Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 705 x 918 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Paul Mellon through the British Sporting Art Trust 1979
Reference
T02377

Not on display

Display caption

This picture was recorded in Ward's account book as having been commissioned by Edward Miller Mundy of Shipley Hall, Derbyshire. It portrays particular animals he owned - Old Jack, a bay pony, standing on the left, and Blackthorn, a chestnut mare, with a tiny new-born foal on the grass in front of her.
Ward was an ambitious artist who attempted a variety of animal subjects beyond the narrow range of conventional sporting scenes. He was interested in the character of individual animals and used them on occasions in place of people in his compositions. Greatly influenced by Rubens, he seems in his turn to have been a model for Landseer in the manner in which he endowed animals with human emotions.

Gallery label, July 2008

Catalogue entry

T02377 PORTRAITS OF BLACKTHORN, A BROOD MARE, WITH OLD JACK, A FAVOURITE PONY, THE PROPERTY OF E. MUNDY, ESQ. 1812


Inscribed ‘J. Ward. R.A. 1812’ bottom left

Oil on panel, 27 3/4 × 36 1/8 (70.5 × 91.7)
Presented by Mr Paul Mellon KBE through the British Sporting Art Trust 1979

Prov: Commissioned by Edward Miller Mundy, Shipley Hall, Derbyshire; by descent to Major E.P.G. Miller Mundy, sold Christie's 27 October 1961 (88), bt. Frost & Reed; Edward Speelman Ltd., from whom purchased by Paul Mellon 1966.
Exh: R.A. 1812 (117); B.I. 1825 (16); Fine Arts, Derby Museum 1870 (300).
Lit: Recorded in the artist's MS. Account Book (coll. Professor Robert H. Werner), p.67; Repository of Arts, June 1812, p.342; Sporting Magazine, vol. XIX no. CX, 1826, p.3 no.110; C. Reginald Grundy, James Ward, R.A., His Life and Works, 1909, p.369; Egerton, 1978, pp.216–7, no.231.

The artist's MS. Account Book records the purchase by Edward Miller Mundy of two earlier pictures. Both were sold (with T02377) at Christie's in 1961 (lots 86 and 87). ‘Heath Ewe and Lambs’, dated 1810 and exhibited that year at the R.A. (75), recorded as a purchase by Mr Mundy in July 1812, is now in the Mellon Collection (Egerton, 1978, cat. no.228, p.214), and a painting of a donkey and foal in a barn with a turkey etc. was recorded as a purchase by Mr Mundy in 1811 (present whereabouts unknown). Unlike Mr Mundy's other two purchases from Ward, T02377 was evidently a commissioned work, and portrays particular animals which he owned. Presumably with Mr Mundy's permission, Ward exhibited it at the R.A. in 1812 (the year of the picture's date); seeing it in that exhibition, the critic of The Repository of Arts commented ‘The colouring of these animals is equal to the finest specimens of painting that we remember to have seen, either of Cuyp, Wouvermans, Potter, or any of the best masters of the Flemish or Dutch Schools. The drawing is good, and the penciling masterly’. After the exhibition, Ward evidently helped to arrange for the transport of the picture to Mr Mundy. His Account Book records a copy of a bill delivered to Mr Mundy in September 1812; this bill, totalling £119.6.0, included £7.10.0 for the picture's frame and £1.11.0 for a packing case.


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

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