Oil painting of a horse by Herbert St John Jones. Painting is signed and dated 1921.
Oil on canvas of a Hackney pony gelding, inscribed “Mr William Heath’s Hackney Pony Gelding ‘Torch Fuse’ sold for 160 guineas.”
St John Jones, British Artist, 1872-1939.
Born in 1872 in Shrewsbury. As a young child St John Jones moved to Nantwich, Cheshire, and lived there until his death in 1939.
He was commissioned by many aristocratic clients to paint portraits of horses and dogs, and his client list included the Duke and Duchess of Westminster, and King Edward VII.
He was best known as an animal painter, and was inspired by the local huntsmen, learning the details of the horses and hounds with such precision that many of his later portraits were executed from memory at his studio in Hospital Street.
St John Jones was a familiar sight on the streets of Nantwich, and often painted pictures for local shopkeepers in lieu of unpaid bills. Several such pictures decorated the walls of Herbert’s neighbour, the wine and spirit merchants G.F. & A. Brown. After the business closed the paintings were moved to a property in Runcorn.
Herbert’s most common subjects were hunters, but he also painted other types and breeds of horses as well as hounds, meets, and cattle. Later in life he also painted signs for local inns. His work is in many public and private collections, including the Nantwich museum.
As a painter of animal portraits, St John Jones worked for a number of famous and distinguished clients. King Edward VII owned one of Herbert’s paintings, the Ayrshire bull ‘Earlsfield’. The artist himself kept a list of commissions and copies of letters of thanks from his famous patrons.
NB. The Shire stallion ‘Chorlton Clinker’, a fine painting of a horse, inscribed ‘Painted from Life. Herbert St. John Jones of Nantwich, May 1916’. The oil on canvas for which this was the highest price paid for this artist, was sold in 2006 for £19,200 by Bonhams Auctioneers, London.