The Essex Hunt was founded in 1785 by Messrs. J. & D. Rounding. On their retirement as Masters in 1805, new boundaries were constituted and H.J. Conyers was appointed Master of the hunt. Conyers dedicated over 40 years to the hunt, and was a keen patron of the artist. However, the original set of four paintings, of which the present works are autograph replicas, were commissioned by a Mr Thomas Hodgson, who is included in the members depicted, together with his brothers John and the Reverend Henry, rector of Debden. Although there is no key to the set, portraits at the meet are said to include Conyers, the Reverend J. Arkwright on the grey, Lord Petre and Mr Beale Colvin of Pishobury.
The set was also engraved in 1831 by Dean Wolstenholme Junior (1798-1882) and several versions exist by both Senior and Junior. The Essex Hunt was particularly fashionable in the nineteenth century given its close proximity to London; then, as today, it lay across Essex about 35 miles north to south, and 21 miles in breadth from east to west. This proximity to the capital accounted for an ecclectic group of followers, including a meat salesman from Smithfield, a tobacconist from Shoreditch and a fishmonger from Piccadilly who was purportedly always immaculately turned out, but who proved unpopular with the irascible Conyers, who is said to have once ordered 'Take the hounds home, there is no scent, the country smells of fish!' (quoted in The Essex Foxhounds, R.F. Ball & Tresham Gilbey, London 1896).