1717 - 1796
Cock & Hen Black Grouse
Oil on canvas
Image size: 28 x 36 inches
Original gilt frame
Elmer resided at Farnham, Surrey, where he was a maltster. He turned his hand to painting, and developed a special skill for depicting still life and dead game, and was perhaps the most successful painter in this line that England has produced. From that time to 1795, the year before his death, he contributed a great number of pictures, which were very popular, and were painted in a bold, free manner, and with great truth to nature.
He did not confine himself entirely to still life, but occasionally painted genre pictures, such as "The Miser" (engraved by B Granger), "The Politician" (engraved by T Ryder), scripture pieces, such as "The Last Supper", formerly over the altar, but now in the vestry of Farnham Church, and portraits.
Some of his still-life pictures were engraved by J. Scott, J. F. Miller, C. Turner, and others Elmer died and was buried at Farnham in 1790.
The latter were collected, and exhibited at the great room in the Haymarket in the spring of 1799, under the title of "Elmer"s Sportsman"s Exhibition". Some of these were disposed of for good prices, and the remainder were removed to Gerrard Street, Soho, where they were accidentally destroyed by fire on 6 February 1801.
He practised in Ireland, and occasionally exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1783 and 1799.
There is a small mezzotint portrait of him as a schoolboy, dated 26 June 1772, and engraved by Butler Clowes.
The Boxing Match
Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper
Image size: 12 ¾ x 16 inches
Wash mount and period frame
Boxing was a subject that Rowlandson depicted on a number of occasions in his prints and watercolours. The sport enjoyed an unprecedented surge in popularity during the Regency period when it was openly patronised by the Prince Regent and his brothers. Championship boxing matches acquired a louche reputation as the places to be seen by the wealthy upper classes. A match would often be attended by thousands of people, as depicted by the crowd of spectators in this watercolour, many of whom had wagered money on the outcome.
Further examples of Rowlandson's boxing subjects dating to a similar period as the present lot include a watercolour in the Mellon Collection dating from 1787 and a slight sketch of a boxing match by him in the collection of the British Museum, dated 1785-90.
Rowlandson was born in London in 1757 and educated at Dr Barwis’ school on Soho Square before attending the Royal Academy Schools from the age of fifteen. Rowlandson lived in the centre of London throughout his life, although he made several trips to continental Europe. Unusually for a Royal Academy student, Rowlandson seems never to have worked in oils, gravitating instead towards producing sketches and etchings for the print trade.