The Fox Hunt
25.5" x 24"
This artwork is a 19th-century embroidery of a traditional fox hunt with riders in their hunting pink. Three men mounted on separate horses and a pack of foxhounds populate the composition. The figures traverse a hilly terrain as they chase a group of foxes that is outside of the viewer’s field of vision. Sporting art was particularly popular in England. Treatises on the art of hunting animals and shooting birds were published in Britain throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and as a result, sporting art as a pictorial form grew to become fashionable. Sporting art was primarily concentrated in the provinces, rather than in London, and it symbolized the vigour of country life. Many consider it to be the quintessential English art form as it encapsulates the “English way of life.” From 1750 onward, fox hunting became increasingly accessible to diverse members of society due to the systematic breeding of new strains of foxhound, which were sharp and swift enough to keep up with their prey. Later on, King George IV (r. 1820–1830) even lent his patronage to fox hunting. It is possible that this embroidered composition was originally commissioned by a patron represented in the scene, as a memento of a personalized record of a chase with companions in a particular locale of the English countryside. The piece is housed in an original art deco frame characterized by a leaf running pattern; it has an enduring appeal for those who maintain an active interest in rural sports.
At this time in England, A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, was first published in London by Chapman & Hall on December 19, 1843. Author and social critic Charles Dickens (1812–1870) wrote the novella during a period when the British people were actively exploring and re-evaluating their cultural Christmas traditions. The first edition was an immediate hit, selling out by Christmas Eve of its publication year. The book has never been out of print, and became an internationally popular holiday tale.