Born in Blofield, Norfolk, John Emms was the son of the artist Henry William Emms. An assistant to Frederick, Lord Leighton, P.R.A. (1830-1896), he first exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1866, and in 1872 moved to Lyndhurst, Hampshire, although continuing to work from a studio in London until around 1888.
An accomplished horseman and huntsman, Emms possessed a knowledge and experience of hunting that comes across with clarity in his work. The present lot is indubitably from the hand of an artist who knew about animals, their behaviour and character - it represents a moment before a hunt that Emms had no doubt witnessed on numerous occasions. It also illustrates the qualities that he is both admired and collected for: strong, competent, free brushstrokes, and a clever, well-proportioned composition, interplayed with a masterful balance of colour and shadow. The hounds display animation and excitement, while the hunter, ears pricked, appears both alert and eager - Favourite companions waiting with anticipation for the hunt to commence.