J. Oliver and Robin Hood

5| John E. Ferneley, Sr. (British, 1782-1860)

J. Oliver and Robin Hood

Auction Expired

Signed, inscribed “Melton Mowbray”, dated 1857

Oil on canvas, 34" x 44"

Auction Expired because there were no bids

$14000 - $18000

The portraits of Grand Master and Robin Hood with their grooms were commissioned by W. S. L. Crawfurd, Esquire and are listed in John Ferneley’s Catalogue of Paintings as having been executed in 1851 and 1859, respectively. The basis of the index are John Ferneley’s three account books, which were transcribed by Guy Paget and published in the latter’s 1931 book The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley. Both paintings on offer are listed in Ferneley’s original handwritten account books and numbered with Paget’s identification number: “Grand Master” having the identification number 629 and “Robin Hood” listed as 698. In addition to listing the subjects of each painting, Ferneley recorded the price paid for each commission; both “Grand Master” and “Robin Hood” are recorded as having cost £15.15. Crawfurd’s name appears beside 29 paintings in Ferneley’s catalogue, making him the second-largest patron of Ferneley’s work, behind only Lord Gardner, who is listed as having purchased one more work than Crawfurd.

One of the paintings Crawfurd purchased is titled “Sterling Crawfurd’s ‘The Shaver’ in a Stable.” Crawfurd was known as a consummate horseman of his generation. The estate he inherited from his father — known as Milton, adjoining the growing city of Glasgow — was very valuable. In 1848 Crawford won the Cesarewitch with The Cur and in 1850 he was elected a member of the Jockey Club. In 1859 he won the 1,000 Guineas with his mare Mayonaise, which won by a record 20 lengths. The first classic winner to be produced at Manton, the famed training ground of trainer Alec Taylor, was Crawfurd’s colt Gang Forward, which won the 2,000 Guineas in 1873. In 1875 Crawfurd won the St Leger with Craig Millar. Had Ferneley still been alive in the 1870s and 1880s there is no doubt that he would have produced faithful representations of dozens more of Crawfurd’s winning horses.

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