John Ferneley Snr. | PORTRAIT OF SULTAN, A RACEHORSE, IN A LANDSCAPE
John Ferneley Snr.
PORTRAIT OF SULTAN, A RACEHORSE, IN A LANDSCAPE
signed J Ferneley, dated 1831, and indistinctly inscribed Melton Mowbray (lower right); inscribed Sultan (lower center)
oil on canvas
27 3/4 by 36 in.
70.5 by 91.4 cm
Lined. The work presents well and appears bright. There is an unevenly applied varnish. There is faint, stable craquelure visible on certain parts of the horse. Under UV: heavy varnish fluoresces green in a few scattered areas and makes a review of the surface somewhat challenging. In particular, varnish fluoresces green over the signature, inscription and date, which are barely perceptible through this varnish, though the signature and part of the inscription have possibly been strengthened by another hand. There are brushy areas of fluorescence and a few more finely applied dots of fluorescence scattered throughout the canvas, though it is unclear if these are inherent to the artist's method or restorations by a later hand. There is possible strengthening to the contour of the horse's back as well as its legs, and a few brushy retouches near the horse's proper left shoulder.
This condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. It is not a full description of condition. Images of the lot provided may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the images may represent colors and shades which are different than the lot’s actual color and shades. This condition report may not make reference to all imperfections, restorations, or alterations. Sotheby’s is not a professional conservator or restorer, and we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
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Sultan, a famous racehorse known for his distinctive white socks and white blaze, was foaled in 1816 and bred by William Crockford at Newmarket. In 1823, he was purchased by Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Exeter, and joined his stud at Burghley House. An earlier painting of Sultan by John Ferneley was purchased by the Marquess of Exeter in 1830.
Sultan sired a number of champions, including Bay Middleton, who was owned by the 5th Earl of Jersey at Middleton Park, the first owner of the present lot.