On a lane in the grounds of Powis Castle, a man leading a horse has stopped and appears to be showing a horseshoe, dislodged from his horse’s hoof, to another man. The second man carries a black bag and may be a blacksmith or horseshoer. A small dog accompanies him.
Powys (or Powis) Castle is located near the town of Welshpool in Mid Wales. Positioned on a rocky ridge, the castle was built as a medieval fortress in about 1200. It was occupied by a dynasty of Welsh princes and was purchased in 1587 by Sir Edward Herbert (died 1595), the second son of the first Earl of Pembroke. Four Italian terraces which make up the formal garden were created by blasting into the hillside in the 1670s. The interiors of the building itself include Elizabethan rooms and a grand, baroque staircase. The castle itself and the collection of paintings, sculpture and furniture within it, continued to develop during its c.700 years of occupation, until the estate came under the care of the National Trust in 1952.
This work may have been commissioned by British peer and politician Henry Arthur Herbert, first Earl of Powis (c.1703-1772). The painting was probably sold from the Powis family collection in the early 1970s.
Herbert Pugh, landscape painter, was born in Ireland but moved to London about 1758 and lived in the Piazza of Covent Garden. He contributed to the first exhibition of the Society of Artists in 1760 and was elected a member of the Society six years later. Pugh only exhibited at this venue, showing 40 works there in total, including ‘The Morning Visit at Covent Garden’ in 1775. He made several views of London and Surrey, and a few genre works in the manner of William Hogarth. He also painted country estates, including those at Windsor, Harrow, Kenilworth and Warwick. According to the ‘Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’, Pugh’s death in 1788 ‘was hastened by intemperate habits’, however no further explanation is given.
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