Dressed in full hunting attire, A. W. Tudor, Master of the Foxhounds, is seated on a chestnut horse, ready for the hunt. He turns to look at the viewer; a riding whip in one hand and the reins in the other. In the distance other horses and riders, and the pack of foxhounds for which Tudor is responsible, are gathered for the hunt.
Artist Abraham Cooper made numerous portraits of riders on horses like this example, including ‘Thomas Rounding on his Favourite Hunter’, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821; ‘Daniel Haigh, Master of the Old Surrey’; and ‘Burstow Hunt’, sold through Sotheby’s, New York, in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The works generally feature the same low horizon line, similarly dramatic, cloud-filled skies and relatively stark landscapes. Cooper not only painted the subject but also took part in foxhunts and, in 1838, rode an Irish horse called ‘Creeping Jack’ at a hunt arranged by politician Sir James Flower of Eccles Hall, Norfolk.
Abraham Cooper was born in Hoborn, London; the son of a tobacconist and innkeeper. He attended a local school before working for his uncle, William Davis, manager of Astley’s Circus. In 1809 he decided to change career and to study painting under Benjamin Marshall. Cooper contributed illustrations to the ‘Sporting Magazine’ from 1811, exhibiting his first works in the following year. Initially his subjects were mostly horses and dogs, but from 1815 he also exhibited battle scenes. In 1820, he was elected a Royal Academician. His pupils included John Frederick Herring Senior, William Barraud and presumably his son, Alexander Davis Cooper, who became a genre painter and illustrator. He died at his home in Greenwich, aged 81.
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