We have rematted and reset the prints in their frames. The titles were on handwritten cards accompanying each print. These cards may have been mounted to earlier frames or cut from the original mats. There were also indications on the paper backing of the frames that they were once part of a set of six. A pair of Howitt watercolors of hunters pursuing and capturing a hare sold at Sotheby’s in 2004 may have been associated with the four shown here. Their size and materials are the same, and they have similar landscape settings, compositions and color schemes. Like some of the four paintings shown here, both were signed “Howitt” and one was also dated 1792. (See References below).
Samuel Howitt was an accomplished British sporting and animal painter, whose works included horse prints, hunting scenes, and landscapes. Raised a country gentleman, he was apparently self-taught and turned to art as a means of increasing his income, specializing in vibrant light-filled paintings of the sporting and animal subjects he knew so well. He first exhibited at the Spring Garden Rooms in 1783 and at the Royal Academy in 1793. He frequently sketched at the Menagerie in the Tower of London. Howitt’s style is occasionally mistaken for that of his brother-in-law Thomas Rowlandson. Howitt’s notable collections include The British Sportsman (1812), a collection of 71 full-page engraved plates covering field sports and sporting dogs and Oriental Fieldsports (1807), 40 color aquatint prints of wild life, flora, and big game hunting scenes of British and native peoples in India during the Regency period. He also produced 100 plates for Foreign Field Sports (1814) and illustrated an 1814 edition of Aesop’s Fables.
Condition: Each generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. One with faint toning line on outer margins, unobtrusive and matted out. Later backed on paper support, appears stable and not affecting watercolor. In vintage gold leaf frames (c. 1900?), decorated with raised anthemia. Frames variously worn, some minor chips and losses to anthemia restored, but still very good and attractive overall. Old manuscript labels on card, probably cut from earlier matting, now mounted lower center of recent archival cream-colored mats.
“Flora and Fauna Labels.” The Whitworth Gallery. 1998. http://www.whitworth.man.ac.uk/exhibitions/Flora_and_Fauna_labels.html
“The British Sale: Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors.” 2004. Sotheby’s. http://www.sothebys.com/app/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?lot_id=46VCD (19 November 2009). Note: Two similar paintings of hunters were sold at auction at Sale L04120, Lot 97, held at Sotheby’s London on March 26, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. The pair sold for 5520 GBP with buyer’s premium, which is about $9,000, depending on the daily currency rate. One painting depicted huntsmen and dogs coursing after a hare in a rocky landscape, and the other showed the huntsmen and dogs with the captured hare.
Redgrave, Samuel. A Dictionary of Artists of the English School: Painters, Sculptors, Architects, Engravers and Ornamentists. London: Longmans, Green, and Col., 1874. pp. 218-219.