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Lot No.
RICHARD WHITFORD (op. 1839-1897)
'A break from the Shoot' - a Portrait of William Crowther standing with ponies and whippet in a meadow by a river, a wooded landscape beyond, with a distant view towards a Tower
signed and dated 'R. Whitford 1855' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 x 36 in  (71.2 x 91.4cm)

The frame reverse bears an attached pen inscription on paper on the reverse stating  'Uncle William Crowther's shooting Ponies Tommy and Mischief'

Provenance: William Crowther, Esq
                      by descent to Henry Lucy Sowdon, Esq.. Leamington Spa
                      Brigadier Col. Henry Neville Sowdon
                      Neville R.B. Sowdon, Esq. 
                      Thence to the present vendor

At the time this work was painted, the sitter, William Crowther (b.1812), was farming Lord Somerville's land situated at The Manor House, Aston Somerville, near Evesham, Worcestershire. According to the UK census of 1851, Crowther employed 53 labourers there and his land extended to 1009 acres. He took a keen interest in horses and he helped organise racing in the village. Race Meetings (of which he was a Patron) were held at Aston Somerville from 1836 to 1864.
The artist, Richard Whitford, worked for a time near Evesham before moving to Northleach, Gloucestershire. He is known to have collaborated on at least one occasion with the artist Thomas Woodward on a painting. He appears to have been a member of a family of artists who specialised in equestrian, sheep and cattle subjects.
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