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Buckhounds masterwork by Lyndhurst artist could fetch £120,000 at auction

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John Emms' The New Forest Buckhounds is one of 50 masterworks that will be sold at Sotheby's
John Emms' The New Forest Buckhounds is one of 50 masterworks that will be sold at Sotheby's

A MASTERPIECE by a famous New Forest painter is set to go under the hammer – and could fetch up to £120,000.

John Emms’ New Forest Buckhounds (pictured) is part of a cache of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist works which are going up for sale at Sotheby’s on Tuesday 10th December.

Simon Toll, from Sotheby’s, said: “From 1881 John Emms lived permanently in Lyndhurst and often painted the New Forest Buckhounds – a later version of this picture was sold in New York in April for $250,000.

“The two younger men in the painting were local Hampshire residents from the Gulliver family – one was a whipper-in and the other was a kennel-man for the New Forest Buckhounds in 1895. Their descendants are said to still live in Hampshire.”

The auction features 50 works by noted British artists, such as Sir John Everett Millais, Edward Seago, Sir Alfred Munnings and Sir Edward Coley Burns-Jones.

Born in Blofield, Norfolk, Emms was the son of artist Henry William Emms and became an avid hunter – which helped inspire the equine and canine paintings he became famous for, particularly of New Forest foxhounds.

He exhibited several times at the Royal Academy and his talent, equestrian accomplishments and prolific output meant Emms acquired a large clientele who commissioned him to paint horses, hounds and dog portraits and he travelled extensively around the country.

He met his future wife Fanny Primmer when visiting Lyndhurst while apprenticed to Frederick, Lord Leighton in the 1860s – the two collaborated to produce the giant fresco “The Wise and Foolish Virgins” at St Michael and All Angels Church in Lyndhurst.

Emms and his wife moved to the Forest and built a large house and studio known as The Firs, in Queens Road, Lyndhurst, in the 1880s, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

In his later years, with his popularity among the public fading and his love of whisky increasing, stories of his drinking prowess were legendary.

Emms was often short of money and it is thought he was forced to part with around 100 of his paintings in his later life to settle various bar bills – including two he gave to Ernest Harris, the then-owner of The Stag Hotel in Lyndhurst.

Entitled The Kennel Club and Old Faithful, the pair were auctioned at Sotheby’s by Mr Harris’ granddaughter Kathleen in 1999, and they fetched £108,000.

New Forest Buckhounds has a guide price of between £80,000 and £120,000.

For information on the auction visit www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2019/victorian-pre-raphaelite-british-impressionist-art

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