Colonel Smith Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag

Oil Painting
1640-1680 (made)
Colonel Smith Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag thumbnail 1
Colonel Smith Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 57
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on panel
Brief Description
A Man Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag (COLONEL SMITH GRASPING THE HIND LEGS OF A STAG)
Physical Description
Oil painting
Dimensions
  • Height: 101cm
  • Width: 61.3cm
Style
Gallery Label
British Galleries: The original story can be found in British Galleries Online available in the Study Areas.(27/03/2003)
Object history
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)
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
W.19-1945

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL