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Oil painting - Colonel Smith Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag

Colonel Smith Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1640-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on panel

  • Museum number:

    W.19-1945

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 57, case WS

Object Type
Wealthy families in the 17th century frequently commissioned paintings to commemorate the courage or nobility of an ancestor. This one is unusual as it shows the actual feat of strength and includes a poem describing it. The painting was made to celebrate the bravery of Colonel Sir William Smith, who inherited Hill Hall in Essex in about 1577. The humorous Latin poem was by his friend and neighbour Sir Robert Wroth of Loughton Hall (three miles from Hill Hall). The original painting was probably lost in the Civil War of 1642-1646, when Hill Hall was looted, but the Smith family may have had this painting made to replace it. The Colonel is shown in 17th-century costume, of the period in which the replica was made.

Subjects Depicted
According to the poem, a stag had broken into Colonel Smith's fenced garden, and started to crop the plants. The Colonel turned out his hounds, but the stag ran off into the wild. Suddenly it fell into a stag pit, and in pursuing it the Colonel fell in as well. He grappled with the animal as it tried to escape, dragging him along, and finally he overpowered it. He then tied its feet together with one of his garters.

Physical description

Oil painting

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1640-1680 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

oil on panel

Dimensions

Height: 101 cm, Width: 61.3 cm

Object history note

Purchased, 1945
Possibly commissioned by Sir Thomas Smith (died in 1668) or Sir Edward Smith Bt. (died in 1717)Painted in England by an unidentified artist, for Hill Hall, Essex; the Latin verses by Sir Robert Wroth II (born about 1576, died 1614)

Descriptive line

A Man Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag (COLONEL SMITH GRASPING THE HIND LEGS OF A STAG)

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The original story can be found in British Galleries Online available in the Study Areas. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Oil paint; Panel

Techniques

Oil painting

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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