This wonderful scene by John Francis Sartorius captures a moment during a late 18th century British fox hunt. The work depicts Adam Prattington standing with his docked bay hunter while another gentleman sits on his own horse, just behind. Three hunting dogs occupy the foreground, interacting with Prattington and further animating the work.
Sartorius places these characters in a dramatic landscape, the hunting party stopping on an elevated peak with a ravine falling down below. The bold and voluminous clouds which frame the group further add to the pomp and grandeur of the scene. This setting is likely depicting the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, near to the village of Bewdley, where the Prattington family lived in the 18th century.
John Francis Sartorius was an English painter of horses, horse-racing and hunting scenes, the fourth generation of artists in the celebrated Sartorius family.
John Francis was the son of artist John Nott Sartorius and grandson of Francis Sartorius. His younger brother was also a marine artist. John Francis is often considered as being less successful than his father with regard to the number of his patrons, however his thorough knowledge of sport is exemplified in his sporting pictures. Indeed, many of his father’s patrons also bought from the son, and both father and son contributed illustrations for the Sporting Magazine.
John Francis Sartorius first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1802, when he was residing at 17 King Street, Holborn. Afterwards he sent occasional contributions until 1827, the total number of pictures exhibited by him being 16. One of the best known of his works is ‘Coursing in Hatfield Park’, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1806, and depicting Emily Cecil, Marchioness of Salisbury, who rode daily in the park up until her eighty-sixth year.