The Jacobean house at Moor Park, near Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, was rebuilt by the Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni circa 1720 for Benjamin Styles, a director of the South Sea Company. After being owned by the naval hero Lord Anson and the banker Sir Laurence Dundas in the eighteenth century, in 1828 it was bought by Robert, 2nd Earl Grosvenor, later 1st Marquess of Westminster (1767-1845). Moor Park was inherited in 1845 by the Marquess's third son, Lord Robert Grosvenor (1801-1893), who was created Baron Ebury in 1857. Lord Robert was a Privy Councillor; M.P. for Shaftesbury, 1822-26, for Chester, 1826-47, and for Middlesex, 1847-1857. He was Comptroller of the Queen's Household, 1846-47 and Groom of the Stole to the Prince Consort.
The Grosvenor family, great patrons of the Turf and dedicated Meltonians who often hunted with the Quorn, were enthusiastic supporters of John Ferneley Senior over many years. Among his earliest commissions from Lord Belgrave (later Earl Grosvenor and 1st Marquess of Westminster) were The Belvoir Hunt, 1827 and The Cheshire Hunt, 1828 (both in the collection of the Duke of Westminster), which show various members of the Grosvenor family (see Major Guy Paget, The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley, 1937, pp. 37-40).
One of the most accomplished sporting artists of his day, John Ferneley Senior had a long and prolific career, and enjoyed considerable fame and fortune during his lifetime. Born at Thrussington in Leicestershire, the son of a wheelwright, Ferneley was first apprenticed to his father's trade. His artistic talent was soon recognized by the Duke of Rutland, and Ferneley was sent to London to study with the successful sporting painter Benjamin Marshall; he also enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1806 and 1853.
From 1804, he travelled extensively around England, visiting Dover (to paint the Leicestershire militia), Norfolk and Lincoln. In 1808 he went to Ireland, where he returned annually between 1810 and 1812, painting many pictures for the Irish gentry.
Ferneley spent the rest of his life at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, where he built a studio and house named Elgin Lodge. His reputation earned him the patronage and friendship of many Meltonians and members of the aristocracy. He was patronized by some of the most fashionable figures of the day, including Beau Brummel and Count d'Orsay.