Primarily a sporting artist and illustrator, John Charlton was a superb animal draughtsman from an early age. At twelve, he was placed with a bookseller in Newcastle, where he had ample access to the engravings that gave him an appreciation of detail in illustration. He studied under William Bell Scott at the Newcastle School of Art, and later worked at the South Kensington Museum, apprenticed for a brief time in the studio of John Dawson Watson.
From 1870, Charlton regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists, as well as illustrating numerous books and periodicals, including his own Twelve Pack of Hounds. As a keen huntsman, they were the artist's favoured and most dexterously portrayed subject. The sense of movement and anticipation within this particular painting, emphasised by the spontaneously handled paint and hill-side tilt of the composition, is a fine example of Charlton's skill in such depictions.
Earl Spencer was amongst Charlton's distinguished patrons, and Queen Victoria commissioned the artist to paint the Jubilee Procession in 1897.