The present picture was excecuted at Newtownbarry, Co. Wexford, Ireland. The Hall-Dares erected the house seen in the background in the 1860s. The estate previously belonged to the Farnham family, who inherited it through the marriage of Judith Barry to John Maxwell, later 1st Lord Farnham. When it was acquired by the Hall-Dares a new house was built to the designs of Sir Charles Lanyon. This and the following two lots have hung in the house since they were painted.
John Emms was born in Blofield, Norfolk, the son of the artist Henry William Emms. At one point in his early career, he worked as Frederic, Lord Leighton's studio assistant. A good horseman and convivial guest, he soon found his vocation painting horse, hound and dog portraits, and travelled extensively throughout the British Isles to do so. His work has been consistently popular: Hours of Idleness; Foxhounds and a Terrier in a Kennel recently sold at Christie's New York, 3 December 1998, lot 118, for $420,000.