John Sanderson Wells The Stirrup Cup Oil on Canvas 18 x 24 inches

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The Stirrup Cup
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John Sanderson Wells (1872-1955) was a celebrated English sporting artist.  He specialises in equestrian sporting art, depicitng English country gentlemen in hunting or racing scenes.  His work is praised for both its realism and composition, but also hints of romanticism and nostalgia that hark back to the Victoria era and the waning days of aristocracy and rural divertisments.  

The pair of paintings depicts two hunting scenes, in different parts of the day.  The painting above would be depicting a scene before the hunt has taken place, where the two huntsmen are being served a stirrup cup, which is a pre-hunting drink usually consisting of strong liquors such as whisky, wine, port, or sherry.  The hounds in the foreground, as well as the prominently dressed gentlemen on horseback, all suggest a teaming excitment before the hunt takes place.  In a typical "calm before the storm" scenario, Sanderson Well's painting perfectly sets the scene in a excitedly calm tone, in wonderful contrast to the second half of the pair, which is filled with erupting excitement as the hunt is in full chase.  

 

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