JAMES WARD, R.A. (LONDON 1769-1859 CHESHUNT)
JAMES WARD, R.A. (LONDON 1769-1859 CHESHUNT)
JAMES WARD, R.A. (LONDON 1769-1859 CHESHUNT)
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PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED FAMILY
JAMES WARD, R.A. (LONDON 1769-1859 CHESHUNT)

Marengo, Napoleon's Barb charger

Details
JAMES WARD, R.A. (LONDON 1769-1859 CHESHUNT)
Marengo, Napoleon's Barb charger
signed and dated 'JWR. RA. 1829' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 x 35 1/2 in. (71 x 90 cm.)
Provenance
The artist; his sale, Christie’s, London, 29 May 1829, lot 78, where acquired for 32 gns. by,
John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick (1770-1859), by descent to his nephew and eventual co-heir,
George Rushout Bowles, 3rd Lord Northwick (1811-1887), Northwick Park, Gloucestershire, by 1864, and by inheritance through his widow,
Elizabeth Augusta, Lady Northwick (d. 1912) to her grandson,
Captain Edward George Spencer-Churchill (1876-1964); (†) his sale, Christie’s, London, 25 June 1965, lot 136 (6,000 gns. to Partridge).
Acquired soon after the above sale by the father of the present owner.
Literature
A Catalogue of the Pictures, Works of Art, &c at Northwick Park, 1864, no. 365.
C.R. Grundy, James Ward, R.A.: His Life and Works, London, 1909, p. 46, no. 453.
Dr. T. Borenius and L. Cust, Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures at Northwick Park, London, 1921, p. 142, no. 380.
O. Beckett, The Life and Work of James Ward, RA 1769-1859, Lewes, 1995, p. 79, illustrated.
E. Nygren, 'James Ward, RA (1769-1859): Papers and Patrons', Walpole Society, LXXV, 2013, p. 337, under no. 367.

Brought to you by

John Hawley
John Hawley Specialist

Lot Essay

Marengo was the famous charger ridden by Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battles of Marengo (after which he was named), Austerlitz, Jena-Auerstedt, Wagram and Waterloo. Originally imported to France from Egypt, although small, he was famously steady and courageous. He was wounded eight times and, among other feats, survived the retreat from Moscow in 1812. After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, Marengo was captured by William, 11th Lord Petre, and sold to Lieutenant-Colonel Angerstein of the Grenadier Guards. He died in 1831 at the age of 38, and his skeleton is displayed at the National Army Museum, London.

The present work is the only known version painted by Ward of a slightly larger (32 x 43 in.) work, dated 1824 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1826. The earlier picture was doubtless intended as a counterpart to Ward’s portrait of Copenhagen, the charger ridden by the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, dated 1824 and exhibited at the Academy the same year. These two pictures were among six portraits of celebrated horses acquired from the artist between 1820 and 1826 by Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland. In the Northumberland version of Marengo, a setting sun to the right of the composition – where the horse gazes – is seemingly a metaphor for the end of his master’s twelve years of military campaigns.

Included in the artist’s posthumous sale at Christie’s in 1829, the present work was acquired by John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick, a remarkable collector of paintings by Old Masters and contemporary artists, prints, coins, miniatures, enamels and other objects. His vast collection was dispersed in a series of sales in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with Marengo appearing in one of the last, held at Christie’s in 1965.
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