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