James Pollard (1792-1867) grew up in Islington, North London, near the great Mail route to the North of England, which has been considered to have had a strong influence on the subject matter of his works. Pollard’s father Robert was a pupil of Richard Wilson, R.A., before pursuing a career as a renowned engraver and print publisher. It is suggested that it was his father, who made up his mind that his son James should be a painter of horses after artists such as Ben Marshall.
Initially following his father’s profession, Pollard began concentrating on etchings and acquatinting. However, it was not until the 1820s that the unique charm of his assured draughtsmanship was truly respected. Commissioned in 1821 by the King’s print seller, Edward Orme, to paint a mail coach scene on a signboard for an inn, the sign was subsequently exhibited in his shop window on Bond St. It was greatly admired and was the catalyst that led to further commissions. Later in his career, he worked with John Frederick Herring, Senior on several horse racing paintings. Pollard painted mainly the backgrounds and spectators, while Herring painted the horses. He exhibited at the Royal Academy during the years 1821 to 1839 and also at the British Institution in 1824 and 1844.