Plate 4: John Shirley, Huntsman to the Bramshill Hounds
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.
About the artist
John West Giles was a sporting painter and a lithographer. His prints include sporting, animal and decorative subjects, topographical views and military costumes and were made after his owns works or those of contemporary artists. He is thought to be the brother of painter James William Giles, as both artists were living at the same address in Aberdeen in 1830, when they sent works for exhibition at the Royal Academy. John also exhibited five works at the British Institution in London. He appears to have left Aberdeen by 1838 and, despite a brief return to Aberdeen in 1844, exhibited from London addresses from that time on.
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.