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By Sturgess, John (British, 1869-1903)
Sturgess showcases high skill and a brilliant use of colour to depict a lively as well as action-packed scene with an equestrian theme predominating.
This wonderful pair of paintings depicts a lively hunting scene filled with horses and riders. It was painted by John Sturgess (British, 1869-1903) in 1870. Sturgess is particularly known for artworks depicting hunting and racing scenes such as the pair in Mayfair Gallery’s collection.
The first painting titled ‘The Start’ portrays the beginning of a hunting trip. A man opens the gates leading to a large field, through which a large group of men on horses will soon gallop. The artist portrayed all animals with the utmost precision and detail, especially focusing on their anatomical features such as muscles. The majority of horses have brown hair apart from a few rendered in white. One of the lighter-coloured horses is in the foreground of the painting and appears to be the leader of the group. The figures are dressed in vivid red, cream, and black garments with several different head coverings. All are holding a whip in one of their hands while the other is holding onto the reins. In the distance, one can observe houses and greenery.
The second artwork is titled ‘Full Cry’ and showcases a very animated scene where a selection of horses jumps through a stone wall during a fast-paced run. The same dog that was standing near a fence in the first painting is seen also jumping over the wall, and another is running in the distance. Sturgess masterfully used colour in both paintings, portraying fine details such as the shine on the horses’ hair, their shadows, or the cloudy sky.
Both works of art are framed in elegant, carved giltwood frames. Each one features a plaque in the bottom centre of the frame with the title alongside ‘JOHN STURGESS. 1870’. The paintings are also signed in the lower left ‘J No STURGESS. / 1870’.
The wonderful attention to detail as well as the predominating equestrian theme make these paintings a very desirable addition to one’s collection.
Canvas: Height 36cm, width 69cm
Frame: Height 52cm, width 85cm, depth 6cm
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