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Wootton was greatly admired in his time for his landscapes, battle-scenes and sporting pictures. His abilities are well displayed in this large picture, where the imaginary landscape is not merely the backdrop to a sporting scene but becomes the dominant feature of the composition.
The 'true blue' coats of the main sitters were worn by supporters of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and show them to be Jacobite sympathisers. However the Earl, shown in the centre on a chestnut horse, prudently avoided involvement in the last Jacobite uprising of 1745, the year after this painting was completed.

September 2004