A cosmopolitan artist, whose works were known across Europe, Otto Weber studied with von Steffeck in Berlin and with Thomas Couture in Paris. He exhibited at the Paris Salon, winning medals in 1864 and 1869, and specialised in pastoral scenes and subjects from Breton life and folklore. In 1870 the Franco-Prussian war drove Weber abroad, first to Milan and Rome, and then to London, where he settled in 1872. He remained in London for the rest of his life, although he made various painting trips to Cornwall, the Highlands of Scotland, the Tyrol and Italy.
Weber enjoyed great success in England, producing landscapes, figure
subjects and hunting scenes from his address at Brignall House, Greville Road, St John's Wood. He exhibited at the R.A. from 1874 to 1888, as well as at the Old Water-Colour Society, the Grosvenor Gallery and elsewhere. Weber's detailed, beautifully executed rural scenes, such as the present picture, reflect his academic training in Berlin and Paris. Thanks partly no doubt to his nationality, Weber also worked for Queen Victoria and her German relations. He exhibited a portrait of H.H. Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein at the R.A. in 1874 and a portrait of Queen Victoria's Skye Terriers in 1876.
Royal Academy Notes records of the present picture: 'Huntsman and farrier in dramatic contrast. The steed is 'Thornton' belonging to the Prince of Wales; in the huntsman we may recognise the portrait of a not unknown littérateur'. Regretably, the identity of this writer has so far eluded the modern viewer.