It is likely that this is Lord Hillsborough's Coquette whose pedigree is unknown. On 29th October 1720 this horse received a 500 guineas forfeit from the Duke of Wharton in a match with Desdemona. Desdemona, by Greyhound was a reasonable horse and it would be most unlikely that Lord Hillsborough would have made a One Thousand Guineas match against her with an unraced horse. It is therefore likely that Coquette had previously run as an unnamed horse or in the days before 1727 when the first racing calendar came out or had run in unrecorded races.
Several other horses of the same name existed in the 18th century but do not fit the description of the painting. The Duke of Bolton's Old Coquette was foaled in 1722 and produced her first foal in 1727 and thus she would not have been raced. Neither of the Young Coquettes which she produced in 1734 and 1735 were bay.
John Wootton is best known for his valuable and innovative contribution to the development of sporting and landscape painting in 18th century England. His early interest in painting was greatly encouraged by the Beaufort family. The Beaufort and Coventry families were both patrons of the Dutch painter Jan Wyck, and were probably responsible for introducing Wootton to Wyck, under whom he studied during the 1690s. Wootton then moved to London as his permanent base, but traveled extensively to patron's country estates in order to paint their houses, horses, hounds and hunts. In 1811 he was a subscriber to the first English Academy of Drawing and Painting, and in 1717, he was chosen as a Steward of the Virtuosi Club of St. Lukes.
Wootton was immensely successful and enjoyed extensive royal and aristocratic patronage. He was able to realise the values and aspirations of his patrons and to portray them as they wished to be seen. As a sporting artist, Horace Walpole thought him a 'very capital manner' admiring the way 'he both drew and colored with consummate skill, fire and truth.' His innovations in this field greatly elevated the genre of animal portraiture and established precedents for horse portraiture which were to be widely imitated. Wootton is also to be credited with having painted the first Newmarket racing pictures, depicting The Warren Hill, The Heath, The Starting and Finishing Posts and The Rubbing Down House, which were to become popular pictorial types.
As a landscapist, Wootton's works 'approached towards Gaspar Poussin and sometimes imitated happily the glow of Claude Lorrain' (Horace Walpole), carefully contrived to appeal to the classical taste of his clients, nurtured on the 17th century Roman School of landscape painters.
Wootton's successful career and remarkable reputation were testified by George Vertue who remarked that he 'was in great vogue and favour with many persons of ye greatest quality' and commanded 'the greatest price of any man in England.' His work is well represented at Badminton, Althorp and Longleat, where he painted large scale sporting scenes for the entrance halls.