A Meet in the West of England
A Meet in the West of England
A Meet in the West of England

JAMES ROSS (c.1700-c.1750)

A Meet in the West of England

c. 1730 England

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James Ross, Snr.
(English, c.1700-1750)
A Meet in the West of England
Circa 1730, signed J Ross lower left
Oil on canvas, in an antique Lely-pattern gilt frame
Dimensions: 139.5 x 120cm (55 x 47.25 inches) incl. frame

Related literature:
Stephen Deuchar, Sporting Art in 18th Century England (New Haven, 1988), p. 68, fig. 51
Sally Mitchell, The Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists, 1985, p. 366
Mary-Anne Wingfield, A Dictionary of Sporting Artists 1650-1990 (Antique Collectors Club, 1992)

James Ross Snr. was part of a small group of pioneering British artists who specialised in sporting paintings, along with John Wootton (ca.1682 -1765), Peter Tillemans (1684-1734) and James Seymour (ca.1702-1752).

This signed painting by Ross shows a mixed local hunting party and their dogs meeting beside a manor house, with the ruins of an ancient castle beside it. In the centre, a white horse is rearing up dramatically, presumably provoked by one of the dogs, which is being restrained to the female rider’s right by a male member on foot. The party is accompanied by a large pack of hunting dogs, most of which are drinking at the well on the left side of the picture, and a woman on foot on the left side is also bringing what appears to be a bowl and flask to the party. In the background is a large, broad and green river valley with high hills in the distance; a typical landscape of the West Country of England and painted in a classical Italianate manner.

According to Sally Mitchell, James Ross and his family probably lived in the Gloucestershire or Worcestershire area of England. The present painting’s background of a large river, wide valley and high, rolling hills in the distance bears close resemblance to his local Severn Valley. Indeed, Ross did paint known views of the Severn Valley area, for example in his set of four pictures of The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, each signed and variously dated 1729-33 (Christie's, London, 15th November 1996, lot 47, hammer £165,000). Ross’s other notable paintings include The Trotman Family Hunting in Oxfordshire and The Shuckbrough Family Hunting in Warwickshire.

Large signed paintings by Ross, such as the present example, rarely come to market and, as such, are highly sought-after examples of early British sporting art.
Private collection, England
Arthistorical Ltd.

Arthistorical Ltd.
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