richard green

John Ferneley Snr (Thrussington 1782 - Melton Mowbray 1860)

  • John Ferneley Snr - A red and white setter, spaniel and terrier belonging to the family of Earl Ferrers, with a view of Staunton Harold, Leicestershire
    John Ferneley Snr A red and white setter, spaniel and terrier belonging to the family of Earl Ferrers, with a view of Staunton Harold, Leicestershire Full details

    BG 80

     

    JOHN FERNELEY Snr

    Thrussington 1782 - 1860 Melton Mowbray

     

    A red and white setter, spaniel and terrier belonging to the family of Earl Ferrers, in the park at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire

     

    Signed and dated lower left: J.Ferneley. / Pinxt 1808

    Canvas: 25 x 30 in / 63.5 x 76.2 cm

    Frame size: 31 ½ x 35 ¼ in / 80 x 89.5 cm

     

    Provenance:

    Commissioned by Lady Tamworth, daughter-in-law of Robert, 7th Earl Ferrers (1756-1827)

    Private collection, UK

     

    Literature:

    Major Guy Paget, The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley/The Account Books of John Ferneley, 1931, p.126, no.2 (Account Books 1808. ‘Do. For Lady Tamworth. Portrait of a dog of Lady Catherine Collier. 2.12.6.’)

     

     

    This delightful work was made quite early in Ferneley’s career and for one of the Leicestershire aristocratic families who first nurtured his talent. The son of a Thrussington wheelwright, he was ‘discovered’ by the Duke of Rutland while decorating a cart and sent by the Duke to study with Ben Marshall in London in 1803.

     

    This painting of three favourite dogs was commissioned by Lady Tamworth, daughter-in-law of Robert, 7th Earl Ferrers of Staunton Harold. Lord and Lady Tamworth were buyers of several paintings in 1808, at the very beginning of Ferneley’s Account Books (nos.1-3). The young artist had gone to stay at Staunton Harold in July 1808, ‘where he painted his first big picture, a shooting party, several hunting pictures for Lord Tamworth, Earl Ferrers’s son, and, for Lady Tamworth, her dog and a small portrait of Master Bruce Campbell with two beagles or harriers….Here he was taken very ill, and was advised to winter somewhere less bleak and cold than Leicestershire. He chose Ireland’[1]. Ferneley received £21 for the large painting of the shooting party, charging by the number of figures.

     

    The beautiful portrait of the setter reveals how well Ferneley had learned his lessons from Marshall. The dog stands solidly in the landscape, the light and shade on his coat depicted with fluid and subtle brushwork. The spaniel and terrier provide amusing foils to his alert, dignified personality. Ferneley vividly evokes the atmosphere of the park at Staunton Harold, with the church, mansion and lakes in the distance. Pevsner has commented: ‘For position, Staunton Harold, the house and the chapel, are unsurpassed in the country – certainly as far as Englishness is concerned’[2].

     

    The Shirley family, created Earls Ferrers in the eighteenth century, had lived at Staunton Harold since the early fifteenth century. Staunton Harold Hall was remodelled in Palladian style by Admiral Washington Shirley, 5th Earl Ferrers, in 1763. Ferneley shows the graceful east front of stone and red brick. To the left is Holy Trinity church, one of very few churches built in England between the Civil War and the Restoration. Over its west entrance is the inscription: ‘In the yeare: 1653 when all things sacred were throughout ye nation Either demollisht or profaned Sr Richard Shirley Baronet Founded this Church whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in ye worst times’. Sir Richard died in the Tower of London in 1656. The church is now the property of the National Trust.

     

     

     

     

    Staunton Harold Hall and Holy Trinity church.

    JOHN FERNELEY Snr

    Thrussington 1782 - 1860 Melton Mowbray

     

    One of the most accomplished sporting artists of his day, John Ferneley Senior had a long and prolific career, and enjoyed considerable fame and fortune during his lifetime. Born at Thrussington in Leicestershire, the son of a wheelwright, Ferneley was first apprenticed to his father's trade.  His artistic talent was soon recognised by the Duke of Rutland, who admired some of his pictures which adorned a cart on which his father was working.

     

    In 1803, at the instigation of the Duke of Rutland, Ferneley was sent to London to study with the successful sporting painter Benjamin Marshall; he also enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1806 to 1853.

     

    From 1804, he travelled extensively around England, visiting Dover (to paint the Leicestershire militia), Norfolk and Lincoln.  In 1808 he went to Ireland, where he returned annually between 1810 and 1812, and painted many pictures for the Irish gentry.

     

    Ferneley spent the rest of his life at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, where he built a studio and house named Elgin Lodge.  His reputation earned him the patronage and friendship of many Meltonians and members of the aristocracy.  He was patronised by some of the most fashionable figures of the day, including Beau Brummel and Count d’Orsay.

     

     

     

     

    [1] Paget op. cit., p.16.

    [2] The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, 2nd edn. revised by Elizabeth Williamson, London 1984, p.390.

  • John Ferneley Snr - Mr William Massey Stanley's hunters 'Eventful' and 'Ranksbro' with a dog
    John Ferneley Snr Mr William Massey Stanley's hunters 'Eventful' and 'Ranksbro' with a dog Full details

    BC 161

     

    JOHN FERNELEY  SNR

    Thrussington 1782 - 1860 Melton Mowbray

     

    Mr William Massey Stanley’s hunters Eventful and Ranksbro with a dog

     

    Signed, inscribed and dated lower right: J. Ferneley /Melton Mowbray. / 1833

    Canvas: 43 x 62 in / 109 x 158 cm

    Frame size: 51 ½  x 73 in / 130.8 x 185.4 cm

     

    Provenance:

    Commissioned in 1833 by William Thomas Massey Stanley (1807-1863)

    Charles Gold Esq., The Limes, Bishop’s Stortford (label on the reverse)

    Private collection, UK

     

    Literature:

    Major Guy Paget, The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley/The Account Books of John Ferneley, 1931, p.141, no.376 (Account Books 1833. ‘WM Stanley Esq. Portraits of Two Horses, Eventful and Ranksbro and Dog - 26.5.0’)

     

     

    William Thomas Massey Stanley was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Massey Stanley of Hooton Hall, Cheshire and his wife Mary, daughter of Sir Carnaby Haggerston. The Stanleys were an ancient Cheshire family who included among their numbers Shakespeare’s patron Lord Strange and the 12th Earl of Derby after whom the Derby was named. William’s branch acquired Hooton Hall in the early fifteenth century. The name of Massey was added in the early eighteenth century, when William’s great-grandfather inherited the Puddington estate from his godfather William Massey.

     

    William Massey Stanley was MP for Pontefract from 1837 to 1841 and Sheriff of Cheshire in 1845. He succeeded his father as 10th Baronet in 1841. As a young man he was a passionate rider to hounds and a member of the New Club at Melton Mowbray, described by Nimrod (the sporting writer Charles James Apperley) in 1819: ‘There have lately sprung up two junior clubs at Melton. The one called the New Club, occupying the house formerly the residence of Lord Alvanley, opposite that excellent inn called the George Hotel, is composed of the following eminent sportsmen: - Mr. Errington, the master of the hounds; Count Matuchevitch, Mr. Massey Stanley, and Mr. Lyne Stevens’ (quoted in Paget, op. cit., p.23).

     

    The New Club, like the Old Club, founded about thirty-eight years before, was a hunting box with four ‘best bedrooms’, a first-rate cook, and an air of conviviality. Conditions at Melton had improved since the early days, but Nimrod commented: ‘The uninitiated reader would, perhaps, be surprised by an enumeration of the persons of rank, wealth, and fashion, who, during months of every year, resign the comforts and elegancies of their family mansions for a small house in some town or village of Leicestershire – to the eye of anyone but a sportsman, nearly the ugliest county in England’ (quoted Paget, p.24). 

     

    William Massey Stanley appears on the far right of Sir Francis Grant’s famous group painting The Melton breakfast, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1834 (the engraving after this work by CG Lewis is illustrated in Paget opposite p.22). Stanley was an enthusiastic patron of Ferneley, buying nineteen pictures from him between 1832 and 1837, including a portrait of him driving his cabriolet in Hyde Park. The present work shows two of his magnificent, expensive hunters, Eventful and Ranksbro, the latter named after Ranksborough Gorse, a famous covert in the Cottesmore country. Behind them is the tower of St Mary’s, Melton Mowbray.

     

    An extravagant man, William Massey Stanley was forced to sell his Hooton and Storeton estates to Christopher Naylor around 1850. He died unmarried in Paris in 1860.

    JOHN FERNELEY  SNR

    Thrussington 1782 - 1860 Melton Mowbray

     

    Born at Thrussington in Leicestershire, the son of a wheelwright, Ferneley was first apprenticed to his father's trade.  His artistic talent was soon recognised by the Duke of Rutland, who admired some of his pictures which adorned a cart on which his father was working. In 1803, at the instigation of the Duke of Rutland, Ferneley was sent to London to study with the successful sporting painter Benjamin Marshall; he also enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1806 to 1853.

     

    From 1804, he travelled extensively around England, visiting Dover (to paint the Leicestershire militia), Norfolk and Lincoln.  In 1808 he went to Ireland, where he returned annually between 1810 and 1812, painting many pictures for the Irish gentry.

     

    Ferneley spent the rest of his life at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, where he built a studio and house named Elgin Lodge.  His reputation earned him the patronage and friendship of many Meltonians and members of the aristocracy.  He was patronised by some of the most fashionable figures of the day, including Beau Brummel and Count d’Orsay.

     

     

     

     

     

Born at Thrussington in Leicestershire, the son of a wheelwright, John Ferneley was first apprenticed to his father's trade. His artistic talent was soon recognised by the Duke of Rutland, who admired some of his pictures which adorned a cart on which his father was working. In 1803, at the instigation of the Duke of Rutland, Ferneley was sent to London to study with the successful sporting painter Benjamin Marshall; he also enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1806 to 1853.


From 1804, John Ferneley travelled extensively around England, visiting Dover (to paint the Leicestershire militia), Norfolk and Lincoln. In 1808 he went to Ireland, where he returned annually between 1810 and 1812, painting many pictures for the Irish gentry.


Ferneley spent the rest of his life at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, where he built a studio and house named Elgin Lodge. His reputation earned him the patronage and friendship of many Meltonians and members of the aristocracy. Ferneley was patronised by some of the most fashionable figures of the day, including Beau Brummel and Count d'Orsay.


  • Opening Hours
  • Monday - Friday 10.00am - 6.00pm
    Except Bank Holidays
    Saturday - By Appointment

    33 New Bond Street, London, W1S 2RS

    147 New Bond Street London, W1S 2TS

  • Richard Green Apps
  • appstore iPad
  • appstore iPhone
  • Google Play