• The Country House Sale - Newto auction at Christies

    Sale 5984

    The Country House Sale - Newton Hall

    20 January 2010, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 43

    THOMAS STRINGER (BRITISH, 1722-1790)

    Portrait of Richard Davenport, small full-length up on his Roan Mare, in a landscape

    Price Realised  

    THOMAS STRINGER (BRITISH, 1722-1790)
    Portrait of Richard Davenport, small full-length up on his Roan Mare, in a landscape
    signed inscribed and dated 'The Portrait of Rd. Davenport/still Living (after having com-/pleated [sic] sixty one years) in the/service of Mrs. Brooke of Mere;/the last twenty years of which, he has/rode the Roan Mare here painted/by TStringer 1776' (to a stone tablet, lower left)
    oil on canvas
    27¾ x 37¾ in. (70.5 x 96 cm.)


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    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Almost certainly commissioned by Mrs. Brooke of Mere Hall, Cheshire, and by descent to her son-in-law, George Heron of Daresbury Hall, Cheshire.
    Thence to General Peter Heron (1770-1849) of Moor Hall, Cheshire, and to his wife's great-niece, Cecilia Widdrington (née Gregge-Hopwood) who married Shalcross Fitzherbert Widdrington in 1864.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Thomas Stringer (1722-1790)

    An essay by Marjorie Carney (2000) on Thomas Stringer sets out the geography of the artist and his family within the context of the landed gentry in Cheshire during the 18th century. Stringer lived and worked in the small market town of Knutsford, within easy reach of the Brooke family of Mere, the Heron family of Daresbury and Moor Hall, and John Smith-Barry of Marbury Hall, all of whom commissioned sporting portraits by him. Signature elements of style include the nonchalant crossing of the sitter's legs and inscribed tablets or rocks identifying the sitter and horse. The first example of Stringer's work offered here has such a tablet identifying a Richard Davenport in the service of Mrs. Brooke of Mere Hall, and though the sitters of the following three equestrian portraits are unknown, two are marked with later inscribed labels 'Heron' numbers '3' and '5', whilst the last example is listed in the 1925 Inventory and Valuation of the contents of Newton Hall, Felton, Morpeth, Northumberland as a portrait of 'Mr. Heron'. This fine and rare group of equestrian portraits commissioned by the Herons of Mere during the third quarter of the 18th century have remained in the family since the time of their execution and have hung at Newton Hall since the marriage of Cecila Gregge-Hopwood, great-niece of General Peter Heron (1700-1849), to Shalcross Fitzherbert Widdrington in 1864.
    A fine pair of pictures of huntsmen and hounds by Thomas Stringer were painted as overdoors for Mere Hall, Cheshire, and sold Christie's, Mere Hall, Knutsford, Cheshire, 23 May 1994, lots 271 and 272.


    Literature

    Inventory and Valuation of the contents of Newton Hall, Felton, Morpeth, Northumberland, The Property of Brigadier General B. F. Widdrington, C.M.G., D.S.O., 1925, p. 126.