Late 18th Century
Portrait of a Man with a Rifle

Oil on layered paper
Image size: 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (26.5 x 21 cm)
Contemporary swept frame


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This is an eighteenth century portrait of a man dressed as a hunter, holding a flintlock rifle under his elbow.  The subject, standing three-quarter length is presented wearing the fashion of the second half of the 18th century, including a large green coloured jacket decorated with gold trim and gold buttons.

The jacket opens onto a vermillion waistcoat and a brown shoulder strap probably holds a powder flask hidden under his arm. The man’s long hair is held back with a black ribbon. He stands out against a dark sky at the end of a day in a soberly sketched forest landscape.

Eighteenth century paintings invariably associated hunting with class privilege and social hierarchy. It was in the 18th century that hunting was put on as an organised and commercial basis – hunting clubs were set up as paying propositions, with uniforms and an emphasis on genteel networking. Hunting enthusiasts in the 18th and 19th century Britain often documented this ritual of the elite through the means of paintings.