2: ‘Touchstone’ and ‘Emma’
Coloured aquatintpublished 1 February 1845
About the work
This aquatint print is one of a series of images, published under the title ‘The British Stud’. Plates one to six were advertised for sale in the ‘Guide to the Turf’ in 1846:
‘THE BRITISH STUD. A series of COLOURED ENGRAVINGS, price 1l. 1s. each, From pictures by Mr. HERRING, painted expressly for this work…’
This was Plate II of the series, described in ‘The Sporting Magazine’ as follows:
‘The subjects of our present study are Touchstone and Emma. Their names are sufficiently remembered to dispense with an introduction. In their pedigrees they are …of such aristocratic blood that the pride of the Desert would pale before it. …the Painter has relieved the monotony of horse portraiture by making more of a subject, …every form and feature [is] depicted with the truthfulness of an anatomical study.’
As the lettering beneath the image indicates, ‘Touchstone’ was owned by politician Robert Grosvenor, first Marquess of Westminster, while ‘Emma’ was owned by coal industrialist and art collector John Bowes.
About the artist
John Harris III was an aquatint engraver of sporting and military subjects after works by contemporary artists. He was born in London and may have been the son of the watercolourist, illustrator and lithographer known as John Harris II. However, it has also been suggested that he was the son of a cabinet maker. Harris remained in London for the duration of his life and worked mainly for the publisher Ackermann and Fores.
Born in Surrey, John Frederick Herring senior was the son of an upholsterer and fringe-maker for coaches. He was initially employed as a coach painter, which led him to become a coach driver, but he also had a successful career painting St Leger and Derby horserace winners. In about 1830 he moved to London and, aged 38, received his first formal art training under Abraham Cooper. He later received several royal commissions, becoming Animal Painter to HRH the Duchess of Kent in 1846. Despite this, his move to London was not financially successful until he gained the patronage of William Taylor Copeland, head of the Spode Porcelain factory in Stoke-on-Trent. Herring produced several paintings for him, including designs for Spode china.