This exhibition sheds new light on a common, but often overlooked aspect of British art: the British Sporting Print. Highly sought after during the 18th and 19th centuries, these prints endure as symbols of English culture. Featuring more than 100 prints, Catching Sight demonstrates the aesthetic sophistication and accomplishments of the genre. The exhibition takes an innovative approach to the subject, examining these works of art from an art historical perspective rather than simply as documents of the history of sport and rural culture. By focusing on the visual language of Sporting Prints, Catching Sight demonstrates the qualities of directness, vividness, and even wit for which the genre was prized by both the larger public and artists such as Degas and Géricault, who borrowed extensively from its artistic vocabulary.
Catching Sight is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue by Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator, with contributions from Malcolm Cormack, Paul Mellon Curator Emeritus, and Corey Piper, former Curatorial Associate for the Mellon Collection.
"One of the Wrong Sort, Who Goes Out with the Hunters Because It Is the Fashion" [from a set of two], ca. 1820
Henry Thomas Alken (after) (British, 1785–1851), hand-colored aquatint with touches of etching, 9 3⁄16 x 11 5⁄8 in. Paul Mellon Collection, 85.1263.2
"London Sportsmen Shooting Flying" [from a set of four], ca. 1800
Isaac Cruikshank (Scottish, 1786–1811), hand-colored etching, 5 3⁄8 x 8 11⁄16 in. Paul Mellon Collection, 85.1282.2
"The Rendezvous of the Smoking Hunt at Braunstone, Plate 1." [from a set of six], 1826
Charles Loraine Smith (British, 1751–1835), hand-colored aquatint and etching, 9 5⁄8 x 13 in. Paul Mellon Collection, 85.1341.1
Lion and Snake, 1799
James Northcote (after) (British, 1746–1831), etching and mezzotint, 20 x 25 3⁄8 in. Paul Mellon Collection, 85.1433
Horses Fighting [from a pair], 1788
George Stubbs (after) (British, 1724–1806), mezzotint, 19 5⁄8 x 24 1⁄8 in. Paul Mellon Collection, 85.1437.2
The Cock Pit, 1759
William Hogarth (British, 1697–1764), etching and engraving, 12 3⁄8 x 15 in. Gift of Friends of Sporting Art, 2010.90