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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.

July 2008