A City Hunt

bunbury triptych4James Bretherton (active 1770-1781) after a design by Henry William Bunbury (1750-1811), A City Hunt, February 8, 1781. Triptych in drypoint and etching. Total: 60.5 x 169.5 cm. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2011.01395

This very rare triptych caricatures the British upper class institution of the fox hunt by sending the riders into London to get a drink. From the surrounding rooftops chimney sweeps cheer the passing hysteria as several carriages get caught going in the wrong direction. Animals tumble under the galloping horses.

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Bunbury is also satirizing the popular equestrian paintings of George Stubbs (1724-1806), which filled the men’s clubs of the period. Dedication below image on first sheet: To His Royal Highness George Prince of Wales.

A stone road marker “[5] Miles from Shoreditch Church” has been knocked down in the rider’s hurry to reach a pub off to the left, signaled with the banner “John Bull, Dealer in all sorts of spirits.”

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bunbury triptych