No.3, Plate 2: William Smith, Huntsman to the Brocklesby Hounds
Colour lithographpublished 1 August 1839
About the work
This hand-coloured lithographic print is from a series depicting different hunts, published under the title ‘The Hunter's Annual’. Each print includes a portrait of the principal huntsman and his horse and was accompanied by a description of the pack of hounds. They were published in four sets of four plates, in 1836, 1838 and 1839 and 1841, to form a series of 16 prints. The series was issued by print publisher A. H. Bailey & Co. A second series of ‘The Hunter's Annual’, produced in aquatint, was published in 1841.
Several generations of the same family held the position of Huntsman of the Brocklesby Hounds, employed by the Musters of Colwick Hall in Nottinghamshire. In 1776-77, George Stubbs painted ‘Thomas Smith, Huntsman of the Brocklesby Hounds’ with his elderly father (private collection). The elder Thomas Smith, had ceased to be huntsman in 1761, and his son, also Thomas, held the position from 1761 to 1816. Thomas juniors’ son, William (depicted here) then took over the position, remaining huntsman until 1845 when his son, William Smith junior, secured the title.
About the artist
Richard Barrett Davis was born in Watford, Hertfordshire. In 1789, his father became a huntsman to George III. After the King saw Davis’ drawings he persuaded Francis Bourgeois to tutor the artist. Davis may also have studied under William Beechey before entering the Royal Academy Schools. He exhibited at the Academy from 1802; the British Institution from 1808 and at the Society of British Artists from 1827, where he was briefly President. In 1828 he became animal painter to George IV; and later to William IV and Queen Victoria. From 1836 he made a series of prints for publishers A. H. Bailey & Co. titled ‘The Hunter's Annual’ (1836-41). He also made some 30 illustrations for the ‘Sporting Magazine’. He died in Kensington, aged about 72.