Animal painter and illustrator John Sturgess was born in Leicester. He was a pupil of J. F. Herring snr and became best-known for depictions of horses. In 1868 he married Elizabeth Harrison, with whom he had seven children. By 1881 the family had moved to Sydenham. Sturgess exhibited one work at Society of British Artists in 1884. He moved to Hampstead by 1891, where he was still living in 1901 as a widower, with four of his children. Sturgess’s illustrations include those for ‘Old Coaching Days’ by S. Harris (1882), ‘Racecourse and Covert Side’ (1883) by A. E. T. Watson and ‘Driving’ (1889) by the Duke of Beaufort. It was reported that Sturgess’s ‘ability to draw failed suddenly’ a few years before his death, in Hendon, at the age of 69.
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