In 1848 Herring declared that he would not paint another racing winner unless he could 'make a subject of it', and he became more keen on broadening his subject matter to include rural genre scenes, including farmyard scenes which he painted with meticulous detail.
Herring was at the height of his sucess in the 1840s. In 1845, he was appointed Animal Painter to H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent and received his first commission from Queen Victoria, who was to remain a patron for the rest of his life. In a letter of 1848 to his old patron Charles Spencer Stanhope, Herring remarked on the popularity of his work, at a time when 'his pictures were no sooner seen than purchased' (O. Beckett, J.F. Herring & Sons, New York and London, 1981, p. 51).