Barnet Fair by J.F. Herring Senior


Barnet Fair


J.F. Herring Senior

Ref GM2492
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 30" x 16" (76 x 40 cm)
Price Add to basket
This was a hugely popular painting in the 19th century resulting in more than one edition of prints of the subject being issued in the artist’s lifetime. The scene shows a horse fair with all the expected activity surrounding the buying and selling of horses. The coach and four arriving in the background is a mail coach, with the uniforms of the Royal Mail recognizable on the driver and the postilion. A parson takes centre stage, driven in his gig with the grey horse. All around we can see different breeds of horses being looked over and appraised - heavy horses, horses for hunting, horses for driving. The figure in the straw boater examining a horse in the foreground is thought to depict John Frederick Herring Senior himself. On the question of the location of this scene, opinions differ. Although titled ‘Barnet Fair’, which possibly come about given the lasting fame of that fair to the north of London, which continued until the 1950’s, the geography depicted suggests Barnet is unlikely. More plausible as a title would perhaps be Southborough Fair, which the picture has also been called in the past. Southborough horse fair was held close to Meopham in Kent, where the Herring family moved in the 1850’s. In the end one should not discount the possibility of there being an element of the imaginary about the setting.