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A Thousand Years of a Royal Palace

John Wootton (c. 1682-1764)

The Return from the Chase Signed and dated 1737

Oil on canvas | 199.0 x 192.6 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 407814

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John Wootton, one of the earliest native English painters, was extensively patronised by the Royal family during the reign of George II: Queen Caroline visited his studio in 1732, by which time he was already working for her son, Frederick, Prince of Wales. This is one of a pair of hunting scenes (OM 545-6, 407814-5); each bears the date 1737 and cost 100 guineas in 1738; the frames may be those for which John Boson was paid in 1739. The pair was seen hanging in the gallery at the White House at Kew in 1763 by William Chambers who listed the courtiers in the company of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Based on the names he mentions this scene of the return from the chase would seem to represent (from left to right): John Spencer (1708-46), Ranger of Windsor Great Park (in the uniform of this office and standing by his horse); Colonel Bloodworth, Master of the Prince’s horse (in the same uniform, on horse with cap in hand); Colonel Schutz (Master of the Robes, seen here walking towards the Prince); the Prince of Wales himself (in a red jacket with Garter ribbon and Star); Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough (1706-58, Lord Steward of the Prince’s Household); Henry Brydges, 2nd Duke of Chandos (1708-71, Lord of the Bedchamber and here seen in profile on horseback); Lord Boston (1707-75, Chamberlain to the Princess of Wales, seen here behind his horse). These men are surrounded by five other horsemen and two dogs; the east front of Windsor Castle is visible in the background.