John Fredrick Herring (1795-1865) was a British painter of Victorian Era in England who was a painter, signmaker and a coachman. He was famous for his live depiction of racing horses and agricultural scenes.
He was one of the best animal painters of his time who focused on the genre like Sir Edwin Landseer. He also portrayed equestrian sporting events that were accomplished with warm hues and smooth sensitive brushstrokes. He also depicted other animals of the farm like cows, goats, and ducks.
Life of John Herring
Herring was born overseas in America to Dutch parents in London in 1795 and was a son of London merchant. He spent his early 18 years of life in London where he took keen interests in drawing horses and later was employed in making signs and decorative elements on carriages that were drawn by horses.
In 1814 he moved to Doncaster in North England where he witnessed the St. Leger horserace won by Duke of Hamilton. This scene inspired him to try for the art of animal painting.
In 1815, he married Ann Harris which bore him 3 sons and 2 daughters. His sons John Fredrick Herring Jr., Charles Herring and Benjamin Herring all became an artist while his daughters Ann and Emma were married to painters.
At first, he did not succeed in animal painting so he tried his hands on coach painting which led him to drive a coach. For many years he drove a coach named “Nelson “to Lincoln from Wakefield.
While related to coach driving he practiced his artistic powers of animal painting and later he received many appreciations and also got the commission to paint horses for gentlemen who lived as his neighbor. Being a famous painter he did not refuse to abandon his calling as a coachman. He also drove the “Highflyer” coach between London and York for some time.
In 1830, John Herring moved to Newmarket London and spent three years before moving to London, England. He did not have any education in art until he worked in the studio of Abraham Cooper learning a few lessons from him to set up as a great artist. When he was in financial crisis, W.T.Copeland provided a commission to his paintings that included many designs that were used for Copeland Spode bone China.
During 1840-1841, on the invitation of Duke of Orleans, he visited Paris to paint several pictures. In 1845 Herring was awarded the title of “Official Animal Painter” to the Duchess of Kent which was then followed by a commission from the ruling Queen Victoria. He remained a patron for the rest of his life.
In 1853, Herring migrated to rural Kent in the south east of England where he later stopped painting horses. He spent the last 12 years of his life as a country squire living his life at Meopham Park near Tonbridge. He died on September 23, 1865, in Tonbridge of United Kingdom.
Famous Artwork of John Fredrick Herrings
Some of the Horse art paintings by John Herring are shown below
- The Frugal Meal
- The Watering Place
- Pharaoh’s Horses Oil Painting
- Margrave with James Robinson Up
- Painting of Amato Winner of the Derby
The paintings of Herrings were very popular and many of them were engraved which included his 33 winners of St. Legers and his 21 winners of Derby.
Herring had also exhibited at the Royal Academy from the year 1818 to 1865, at the British Institution from the year 1830 to 1865 and at the Society of British Artist from 1836 to 1852. He also became vice-president at the society of British Artist in 1842. His paintings received great acknowledgment during his whole life.