HERRING, John Frederick (1795-1865)

1795 - 1865

John Frederick Herring, sen.

Born in London on 12 September 1795, son of a London merchant of Dutch parentage, who had been born overseas in America. The first eighteen years of Herring's life were spent in London, where his greatest interests were drawing and horses. In 1814, at the age of 18, he moved to Doncaster in the north of England, arriving in time to witness the Duke of Hamilton's ‘William’ win the St. Leger Stakes. By 1815, Herring had married Ann Harris and their sons, John Frederick Herring, Jr. (1815-1907), Charles Herring (1828-1856), and Benjamin Herring (1830-1871) were all to become artists, while his two daughters, Ann [Weir] and Emma, both married painters. At Doncaster Herring was employed as a painter of inn signs and coach insignia on the sides of coaches and a contact with a firm owned by a Mr Wood led to Herring's subsequent employment as a night coach driver. Herring spent his spare time painting portraits of horses for inn parlors and he became known as the ‘artist coachman’ and he began painting hunters and racehorses for the gentry. In 1830 he left Doncaster for Newmarket, Suffolk, where he spent three years before moving to London. During his time in Newmarket, Herring may have received tuition from Abraham Cooper. In London he experienced financial difficulties and was given financial assistance by china manufacturer W. T. Copeland, who commissioned many paintings, including some designs used for his Spode bone china. During 1840-1841 he visited Paris, painting several pictures, on the invitation of the Duc d’Orleans (the Duke of Orleans), son of the French King Louis-Phillipe. In 1845 appointed Animal Painter to HRH the Duchess of Kent, followed by a commission from Queen Victoria, who remained a patron for the rest of his life. In 1853 he moved to rural Kent when he then broadened his subject matter by painting agricultural scenes and narrative pictures, as well as his better known sporting works of hunting, racing and shooting. He spent the last 12 years of his life at Meopham Park near Tonbridge living as a country squire. His paintings were very popular with many being engraved, including his 33 winners of the St Leger and his 21 winners of the Derby. Herring exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1818–1865, at the British Institution 1830–1865, and at the Society of British Artists 1836-1852, where Herring was elected Vice-President in 1842. He died on 23 September 1865.




Works by This Painter