Barbarina Brand, Mrs Wilmot/Lady Dacre, Horse Study - 1796 graphite drawing


An original 1796 graphite drawing, Barbarina Brand, Mrs Wilmot/Lady Dacre Horse Study.

A spirited graphite sketch showing an elegant horse. On laid paper laid down on backing paper.

Barbarina Brand (née Ogle; 1768–1854) was one of the most accomplished women of her time. She was a poet, playwright, and translator, and in 1789 married Valentine Henry Wilmot. After his death, she remarried, Thomas Brand, 20th Baron Dacre, in 1819. As well as being a writer, she sculpted, was proficient in French and Italian, and maintained extensive correspondence with a circle of other literary women, including Joanna Baillie, Mary Russell Mitford, and Catherine Maria Fanshawe. Significantly, she was also a keen horse rider, and the Dictionary of National Biography states: 'Lady Dacre was an excellent amateur artist, and excelled in modelling animals, particularly the horse'. The drawing is inscribed lower left: 'Lady Dacre Mrs Wilmot 1796'. As in 1796 Barbarina was Mrs Wilmot and did not become Lady Dacre until 1819, it appears that the inscription 'Lady Dacre' was added above at a later date, in a slightly different hand. 

There is toning and various marks to the paper as shown, as well as some minor crease lines and a small loss to the paper at the centre towards the upper edge. There is a vertical central crease to the backing paper, which has minimal affect on the front paper.
17.7cm x 24.2cm.

This work is one of a fascinating collection of equestrian pictures we have for sale connected with two highly regarded horse painters: Charles Loraine-Smith (1751-1835), a keen horseman known for his early hunting and sporting scenes; and Charles Cooper Henderson (1803-1877), the preeminent painter of Victorian horses and coaches. Both artists were instrumental in developing the genre of horse painting, and achieved fame and popularity through print reproductions after their work. At a time when animal painting was seen as a ‘lower’ form of art, these artists were pioneering in establishing the respectability and status of the genre.

The collection includes signed works by both these artists, as well a number of interesting works by other members of the Loraine-Smith family: Charles’s son, Reverend Loraine Loraine Smith (1784-1857), and daughter-in-law, Isabella – who were both keen horse-riders, and produced personal studies of horses and hunting subjects under Charles’s influence.

This collection also includes horse pictures by other notable names, such as Jules Léon Montigny, Henry Thomas Alken, Anthony Devis and Frank L. Emanuel. And there are studies after George Stubbs, James Pollard and Leonardo da Vinci.

The story behind why these equestrian pictures have come together is a mystery, but it is possible that the collection was at one time owned by Charles Cooper Henderson. Our collection includes a watercolour by William James Müller – and, interestingly, Charles’s brother, the distinguished art collector John Henderson, was an avid collector of Müller’s works. Together, these pictures, spanning the late 18th into the early 19th century, show the ever increasing British obsession with all things equine.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JH-982

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