John Ferneley, Sen. (Thrussington 1782-1860 Melton Mowbray)
John Ferneley, Sen. (Thrussington 1782-1860 Melton Mowbray)

Mr. William Massey Stanley’s hunters Eventful and Ranksbro, with a hound

Details
John Ferneley, Sen. (Thrussington 1782-1860 Melton Mowbray)
Mr. William Massey Stanley’s hunters Eventful and Ranksbro, with a hound
signed, inscribed and dated 'J. Ferneley / Melton Mowbray. / 1833' (lower right)
oil on canvas
44 x 62 5/8 in. (111.8 x 158 cm.)
Provenance
Commissioned by William Thomas Massey Stanley (1806-1863), in 1833.
Charles Gold, The Limes, Bishop’s Stortford (according to a label on the reverse).
Private collection, England.
Anonymous sale [The Property of a Gentleman]; Sotheby's, London, 24 November 2005, lot 80.
Literature
G. Paget, The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley (1782-1860), Leicester, 1931, p. 141, no. 376, as ‘WM Stanley Esq. Portraits of Two Horses, Eventful and Ranksbro and Dog - 26.5.0’.

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Lot Essay

William Massey Stanley, the son of Sir Thomas Massey Stanley of Hooton Hall in Cheshire, was from a well-established landed family, and succeeded his father as 10th Baronet in 1841, after serving as a Member of Parliament for Pontefract from 1837. Stanley was a passionate rider to hounds and a member of the New Club at Melton Mowbray, which was ‘composed,’ in the words of ‘Nimrod’ (the pen-name of the sporting writer Charles James Apperley), ‘of…eminent sportsmen’ (Paget, op.cit., p. 23). Stanley’s interest in hunting is eminently expressed in this commission from Ferneley, celebrating two of his magnificent, expensive hunters: Eventful and Ranksbro (named after the Ranksborough Gorse, a famed covert in the countryside of Cottesmore, Rutland). In the distance, the tower of St. Mary’s Church at Melton Mowbray can be seen.

In the same year as the present picture, Stanley commissioned from Ferneley a painting of himself driving his cabriolet in Hyde Park (New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, acc. no. B2001.2.94). Indeed, he became an enthusiastic patron of the artist, purchasing some nineteen pictures from the painter between 1832 and 1837.

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