John Frederick Herring, Sr.
(12 September 1795 – 23 September 1865)
Location: Born in: London, England
John Frederick Herring, born in London in 1795. Herring stayed in London until he was 18 and his greatest interest was drawing horses. In 1814, he moved to Doncaster in the north of England, arriving in time to see the Duke of Hamilton’s “William” win the St. Leger Stakes horse race. By 1815, Herring had married Ann Harris. His sons John Frederick Herring, Jr., Charles Herring, and Benjamin Herring all became artists, while his two daughters, Ann and Emma, both married painters. But, there was a rift in the family. Herring Sr started to add “Sr” to his paintings around the same time that Herring Jr started adding Jr to his. The two became competitors in British art market. The rift never supposedly never healed.
In Doncaster, England, Herring was employed as a painter of inn and coach signs on the sides of coaches and later became a night coach driver. Herring spent his spare time painting portraits of horses for inn parlors, and he became known at that time as the “artist coachman”. Herring’s talent was recognized by wealthy customers, and he began painting hunters and racehorses .
In 1830, he left Doncaster and three years later moved back to London, England. In London, Herring experienced financial difficulties and was given financial assistance by W. T. Copeland, who commissioned many paintings, including some designs used for the Copeland Spode bone china. In 1840-1841, Herring visited Paris, painting several pictures, on the invitation of the Duc d’Orleans (the Duke of Orleans), son of the French King Louis-Phillipe.
In 1845, Herring was appointed Animal Painter to HRH the Duchess of Kent, followed by a commissions from the ruling Queen Victoria, who remained a patron for the rest of his life.
In 1853, Herring moved to rural Kent in the southeast of England and stopped painting horse portraits. He spent the last 12 years of his life at Meopham Park near Tonbridge, where he lived as a country squire. He then broadened his subject matter by painting agricultural scenes and narrative pictures, as well as his better known sporting works of hunting, racing and shooting.
A highly successful and prolific artist, Herring ranks along with Sir Edwin Landseer as one of the more prominent animal painters of mid-nineteenth century Europe. The paintings of Herring were very popular, and many were engraved, including his 33 winners of the St. Leger and his 21 winners of the Derby. Herring exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1818–1865, at the British Institution from 1830–1865, and at the Society of British Artists in 1836-1852, where Herring became Vice-President in 1842.
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Huh? What? Well, I will believe that when I see flying Shetlands !