My Favourite Painting: Daniel Crane

'This picture also makes us wonder: where were you when hounds went away? What country did we encounter in our striving to see the finish?'

Daniel Crane chooses The End of 40 Minutes, the Fernie:

‘A true foxhunter lives by an all-consuming creed; to him, hunting is not only a sport, it is his life. Lionel Edwards’s expertise epitomises this. The casual viewer sees a successful pack of hounds and sweating horses, but the sportsman sees beyond this.

‘He sees the professionals’ work in kennels honing the pack and the horseman’s skill in producing a fit hunter, not to mention the generosity of farmers across the hunt countries.

‘This picture also makes us wonder: where were you when hounds went away? What country did we encounter in our striving to see the finish? Edwards gives us The End, but those Forty Minutes are for us alone to imagine .’

Daniel Crane is a sporting artist and joint-master of the Scarteen in Ireland

John McEwen comments on The End of 40 Minutes, the Fernie

‘Hunting is the noblest exercise,’ began Ben Jonson (1572–1637) in his poetic paean to the sport. He would surely have approved of Lionel Edwards, whose ‘hunting landscapes held the heart of England’ and of whom it was said by one master of foxhounds: ‘Whereas he loved painting, he loved hunting even more, and while he enjoyed the ride, he essentially rode to hunt… hound work fascinated him.’

Edwards was brought up in Wales, with memories of the Welsh Hills and the men and hounds who hunted there, and drew his first hunting picture at an early age.

By nine, his drawing earned him the offer of a place in a Paris art school. Art was not considered a suitable career for gentlefolk, but, thanks to his mother, prejudice was overcome and he was allowed to enter Frank Calderon’s school of animal painting in London’s Baker Street.

He was a sickly youth, but his doctor swore by the old adage ‘live in the saddle! Whoever heard of a bilious post boy?’ and prescribed horse riding.

At 16, Edwards had a picture accepted by the Royal Academy and bought by Queen Victoria.

In 1898, he was elected the youngest member of the London Sketch Club. Country Life was the first to publish his work and he enjoyed a close relationship with the magazine throughout his life.

A 40-minute run over Shire country would have been an intense and exhilarating test for the mounted field – hence the steam. Added to which, ‘the rolling ridge and furrow tires horses unaccustomed to the country,’ wrote Edwards of the Fernie and other packs in Leicestershire, the ultimate hunting county.

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