The works of John Frederick Herring, Sr. epitomize the British country rustic aesthetic of the mid-19th century. A painter of horses, barnyard animals, fox hunts and rural life, he began his career in Doncaster, England, painting inn signs and coach insignias. On receiving employment as a night coach driver, he devoted his spare time to painting portraits of horses for inn parlors, earning a reputation as the “artist coachman.”
His work, thus displayed, attracted the attention of local gentry, who commissioned him to paint hunters and racehorses. By 1840 he was visiting Paris on an invitation from the Duc d’Orleans, and in 1845 was appointed Animal Painter to HRH the Duchess of Kent. His first commission from Queen Victoria was soon to follow.
By the end of his career the artist coachman had secured a legacy alongside Edwin Landseer as one of the greatest animal painters of his time.