This is one of a pair of paintings (see also GAC 12214), both still in their original frames. The frames are in the style of the artist and designer William Kent (1685-1748).
The two pendant paintings were probably commissioned by Gertrude, fourth Duchess of Bedford (died 1794), for Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. Several landscape paintings by artist John Wootton were in the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, at their homes at Woburn Abbey and Eaton Square, London. Correspondence of 1757 relating to a landscape commission from the artist by the Duchess of Bedford indicates her confidence in leaving Wootton entirely to his own devices. After Wootton asked whether the Duchess would prefer ‘a morning or an evening sky’, the reply from her secretary was: ‘It is quite indifferent to her what sky it is, but leaves it entirely to Mr. Wootton.’
John Wootton was born in Warwickshire. He was probably a page to Anne Somerset (later Countess of Coventry), daughter of the first duke of Beaufort. In the 1690s he studied painting under Jan Wyck. Wootton moved to London in 1706, where he made his reputation as a painter of horses at Newmarket. As well as sporting subjects, he produced decorative landscapes, including examples at Althorp, Northamptonshire, and Longleat House, Wiltshire. His most generous patron was Edward Harley, second Earl of Oxford. Wootton retired in c.1760, finding his work overshadowed by Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs. He married twice and had two surviving children. He died at about the age of 82 and is buried at Marylebone Parish Church.
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