Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Maybe you will sort of remember that Mom bought four placemats at an estate sale several months ago, and these placemats had pictures of English hunt scenes on them.  I already told your about three of these hunt scenes, and today I will finally get around to telling you about the last one, which is called THE BURY HUNT.  The dedication under the title says this:  To Edmund Grundy, Esq. of Bury, Lancashire -- this Engraving is by permission respectfully dedicated, by his obliged Servant, Joseph Zanetti.

The way this picture was made turned out to be kind of confusing to understand, because I thought Joseph Zanetti was the artist, but I was totally wrong about that.  Instead, the artist was somebody named C. Agar.  This person's whole name was Charles D'agar, which sounds like a French name, but Mr. D'agar was actually born in Shropshire, England in 1669.  He almost always painted portraits, but he seems to have also painted this picture of all these gentlemen out with their fox hounds and horses, ready to go on a hunt.

To make things more confusing, the name of a second artist, J. Maiden, showed up in some places on the internet where engravings or prints of The Bury Hunt were for sale.  One of these listings said "Painted by C. Agar The Animals by J. Maiden."  I think maybe this means that Mr. Maiden painted the dogs and horses, since Mr. Agar was mostly used to painting people.  This is just my theory, but I think it is probably the correct one.

A third important person in making this piece of art was the engraver, whose name was Frederick Bromley.  What Mr. Bromley did was to etch lines in a metal plate, based on the painting, and the plate was used to do the printing.  So the engraver really had to be an artist, too, so that he could make a good copy of the original.  And he had to do it in reverse, so that it would print the correct way.

I couldn't really learn anything about J. Maiden, the artist, or about Frederick Bromley, the engraver.  What I did find out was that in 2009, Christie's auction house in London sold a print of The Bury Hunt that was engraved by Frederick Bromley and first published in January, 1840.  This engraving sold for £625 ($911).

Zanetti's shop in Market Street, about 1820

Now you are probably wondering who the other people mentioned in the engraving's dedication are.  One of these people is Joseph Zanetti, and he turned out to be the publisher of the engraving.  Joseph Zanetti's father, Vittore, had immigrated to England and set up shop as a carver and gilder.  He made picture frames and scientific instruments.  About 1813, he took on Thomas Agnew as an apprentice, and moved to a bigger shop.  In 1816, Mr. Agnew became partners with Vittore Zanetti.  They did high-quality printing, framed the prints, and set up a gallery to show and sell them.  Mr. Zanetti's son, Joseph, got into the business in 1825.

The other person mentioned in The Bury Hunt dedication is Edmund Grundy.  I found a British genealogical site with 2 or 3 people named Edmund Grundy, but Mom does not belong to that site, so I was not allowed to see the information.  Anyway, I think we can safely guess that Mr. Grundy was rich and lived in a big manor house and had lots of servants, dogs, and horses.  He is probably the person who asked for the painting to be made in the first place.  Maybe he is that man wearing a red coat and sitting on the white horse, just to the right of the center of the picture.  Or maybe he is on the bay horse just to the left of center.  Both of these men look to me like they are important, but so do the two men walking in the front of the picture.  I guess we will never know who's who, and anyway, I prefer looking at the dogs!

How Fort Bury might have looked, with the River Irwell in the background.

I also did a little in-depth research on the town of Bury, and what I learned is that Bury is located on the River Irwell, in the Greater Manchester area.  The word bury comes from an Old English word that means "castle" or "stronghold."  The town of Bury goes all the way back to Saxon times.  There used to be a fortified manor house there, but then it got destroyed in a war.  Now some archeologists are trying to dig up the old walls of the castle.

Excavated wall of fortress

So far, they have managed to find several parts of the base of the wall.  I don't know how much digging the archeologists will be able to do because there are some modern buildings that got built right on top of where the old fortress used to be.  But if the archeologists need any help with their digging, I am going to recommend my greyhound brother, Nicky, because he is a very good digger!


  1. The person in the green on the horse left of centre is apparently my great great great grandfather Richard Currer Calrow!!

    1. Wow! I am very impressed that your ancestor is in this painting. It's a good thing he was wearing a green jacket so that you could pick him out from the other huntsmen in red jackets. None of my basenji ancestors are in the painting because they were busy helping people hunt game down in the Congo.
      Sincerely, Piper

  2. so i found that same print at a thrift store in palm springs, ca., yesterday. with all the info. at the bottom of the print. found your info.very helpful, hope i can sell my print!!! anyone interested ?????

  3. Charles Agar was my very English great grandfather, who later became a portrait painter of the aristocracy in England. This is NOT Charles d'Agar!
    Brenda Agar Hollweger

    1. I'm certainly sorry if I read or reported the information on the placemat incorrectly. I don't have the mats anymore, so can't go back and check. Maybe the publisher got the name wrong. Anyway, it certainly makes more sense for an English person to be named Agar and not d'Agar!

  4. Thank you for your prompt reply. Apologies for sounding so annoyed, but it seems that many galleries, onine and off have gotten the name/s of these 2 student artists incorrect, either making them one and the same or, as this one did naming great granddad as the French 17th century Charles d'Agar, instead of my less well known ancester, who would have painted this sometime in the 1830's, before he began his rather successful portraiture career, after graduating from Christchurch Oxford. To remind me of my motherland I still have a good print of this hanging in my American home.