A painting by equestrian artist John Frederick Herring Senior topped a sale of sporting art at Christies auction house in London on Thursday, far exceeding its pre-auction estimate.
The picture titled John Barker of Leighton Hall, Yorkshire, and John Batsby, with pointers on a grouse moor fetched £611,250 at the auction of In the Field: An Important Private Collection of Sporting Art, a curated collection of works. It had been expected to fetch between £250,000 and £350,000. The piece was completed in 1824, when Herring had yet to cement his reputation as a painter of race-winning thoroughbreds and gleaming hunters.
The next highest price was realised by a famous racing painting by Sir Alfred Munnings. A Start at Newmarket fetched £419,250, having been estimated to bring between £400,000 and £600,000 ($US516,000 – $US775,000).
Two other works by Munnings did not sell; expected sale-topper Huntsmen with hounds, Zennor Hill, Cornwall had a pre-auction estimate of between £600,000 and £800,000 ($US774,000 and $1.03 million); and Fortune Tellers at Epsom (estimate: £120,000 to £180,000).
The next highest price was £168,750 for The Earl of Jersey’s ‘Riddlesworth’ with J. Robinson up at Newmarket, by John Ferneley snr. This was commissioned by George Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey, 1831, for £21.
The sale also included early 18th century works by Thomas Spencer and James Seymour; works by Samuel Henry Alken, Heywood Hardy, Archibald Thorburn and David Shepherd.