Mr. William Eaton’s Horse and Dogs
Horse racing was a popular pastime in the antebellum south and Warren county was no exception. In September 1812 The Star newspaper of Raleigh announced the upcoming “Warrenton Fall Races”, a three-day event with “Balls… furnished on the evening of each days Race, by the proprietor.” (Raleigh Starr, 09/04/1812, pg. 141)
This painting follows in the tradition of George Stubbs of depicting the animals of the elite on canvas. Stubb’s work would have been known in North Carolina through the circulation of prints of his work.
INSCRIPTION: The subject of this painting is indicated by a label dated 1891 affixed to the back of the painting. This label also states—in error—that the picture was 150 years old in 1891. It likely dates to 1810-1860.
CONSERVATION: The canvas had been glued to a pine board when it arrived at MESDA. The frame had been applied to the picture by nailing it through the support board and canvas. To stabilize the painting it was removed from the board and re-framed in a non-invasive manner using the original frame.
DESCRIPTION: Painting, oil on canvas, of horse and deer dogs. The horse faces left with its left hoof lifted. It has four white socks and a blaze on its face. Its reins are tied to a tree. It wears a saddle, and his tail is bobbed. The two dogs face right, and the one furthest on the left looks up at the horse, while the other sniffs at the ground. Two trees are on the left side of the painting, and a landscape scene is in the background. The dog on the left has large black patches, while the dog on the right has small patches, one on its ear.
FRAME: Original walnut frame.