The four placemats that Mom bought had fox-hunting scenes, but they were cheaper than the prints on the wall. So this was kind of a compromise because Mom likes the artwork in these paintings, even if she doesn't like the idea of fox hunting. As for me, I also like the artwork, and I actually like to think about hunting something down and killing it, since that's what dogs do. But I would not want to hunt a fox because a fox would be almost as big as I am, and it might be dangerous to get in a fight with one. So I would rather hunt something smaller, such as a bunny or a squirrel or a mouse.
Anyway, I have done some important in-depth research on these hunt scenes that are on the placemats that Mom bought, and now I am ready to tell you about the first one. It is called Sir Richard Sutton and the Quorn Hounds, and it was painted by Sir Francis Grant.
Of course, the first question that we have to ask is, "What is a quorn hound?" And the answer is easy: a quorn hound is a dog that hunts quorns! Hahahaha! That was a joke! But seriously, there was a pack of fox-hunting hounds that was first put together in 1696 by a man named Thomas Boothby (1677--1752). This pack later got the name "Quorn hounds" because they were kenneled in the village of Quorn, in Leicestershire, from 1753 to 1904. And the reason they were kenneled there was because the second master of the hunt, Hugo Meynell, lived at Quorndon Hall. Mr. Boothby was hunt master for over 50 years, and Mr. Meynell then had the job for 47 years.
The Quorn pack hunts in much of Leicestershire, and also a little bit of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The Hunting Act 2004 made fox-hunting illegal in its traditional form, but the Quorn keeps on hunting four days a week during the fall and winter. They say they are operating within the law, but I don't know any details, so I cannot say if they are or not. Mondays and Fridays are the most popular days for the hunt, and on those days they go out in open country with about 100-150 followers on horseback, plus maybe twice that many more who follow on foot, in cars, and on bicycles. There are also hunts on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
|Quorn High Street|
But getting back to the painting that is on the placemat, we also have to ask "Who was Sir Richard Sutton?" And the answer is that he was the Quorn hunt master from 1847 to 1856. Sir Richard became the 2nd Baronet at age 4, after his grandfather, Sir Richard Sutton, 1st Baronet, died. The 2nd Baronet was a passionate hunter. And it's possible that he was also passionate about his wife, because the Suttons had 7 sons and 4 daughters.
The artist of this painting was Francis Grant, who grew up in Perthshire, Scotland. When his father died in 1818, Mr. Grant inherited a bunch of money. At first he thought he would be a lawyer, but then he decided to be a painter instead. He mostly taught himself to paint, but he also learned some things by studying the works of Velasquez and other famous painters.
|Sir Francis Grant|
After a while, Mr. Grant got to be well known as a painter of "sporting" subjects. In 1834 his work was in a show at the Royal Academy. He was elected an associate of the Academy, and later on, in 1866, he was elected the president. Not long after that, he was knighted.
Okay, so now we need to look at the painting itself and see what we can learn from it. And here's what I think we can learn:
1. If you are going fox hunting, you should wear a red jacket and white pants. If you do not have a red jacket, you are definitely Out of Style.
2. You will need some bleach or a good stain remover to clean your white pants after the hunt, because white is a very stupid and impractical color to wear for such an activity, since it will show all the mud that the horses kick up.
3. You should wear a top hat or else one of those riding hats with the little button thingy on top, and it should be black. If you do not wear a hat, you will be really, really, really Out of Style.
4. Your horse should be brown, black, or grayish-white because those are the only colors hunters come in. And you have to ride a hunter because that is the kind of horse that jumps over logs and fences and hedges and other such stuff that you will have to jump over while following the hounds.
5. You need lots of fox hounds, and they should be happy and healthy and know what a fox smells like and how to track one.
Well, that's all I can think of to say about this painting. Someday soon I will tell you about the other three.