British, 1767-1835

Benjamin Marshall

Benjamin Marshall was born in Leicestershire. “Like many other artists who made their names as painters of animals,” writes Sir Walter Gilbey, Marshall “began as a portrait painter, and until twenty-six years of age confined himself to this department of art under the tuition of F.L. Abbott. As might be expected of a Leicestershire man, he had a taste for sport, but does not appear to have weighed the propriety of lending his brush to animal portraiture until in 1793 he saw at the Royal Academy exhibition Sawrey Gilpin’s exquisite painting ‘The Death of the Fox’. This picture made a great impression upon him, and though he did not renounce portraiture altogether, he thenceforward devoted by far the greater portion of his time to the study of animal life, and more especially to horses and dogs in their relation to sport…

“In spite of his undoubted ability Benjamin Marshall seems to have made little progress towards recognition until the year 1795, when he met John Scott, the famous engraver … at the beginning of his long connection with the Sporting Magazine. Common love of sport and art formed a bond between the two… Marshall had great good fortune in making a friend so sympathetic in taste and so exceptionally competent to interpret his paintings for a wider public.

“Benjamin Marshall was neither constant nor liberal in his contributions to the exhibitions of the Royal Academy. Between 1801 and 1819 he showed only eleven works… After twenty years’ residence in London Marshall moved to Newmarket… That his decision to make a new home at the headquarters of the turf was fully justified is proved by his subsequent success. Ere long he counted among his patrons George III and George IV, Earl St. Vincent, Lords Darlingon, Scarboroug and Spondes, Messrs. Hy. Villebois, Thornhill and Fulmar Craven” (Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart., Animal Painters of England from the Year 1650: A brief history of their lives and works, London, 1900, vol. II, pp. 85-94).

Museum and Public Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Black Watch Castle & Museum, Perth
British Museum, London
Canterbury City Council Museums and Galleries
Culzean Castle, National Trust for Scotland
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Hunterian Museum, London
Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket
Liecestershire County Council Museum Services
Middleton Stoney Parish Council, Middleton Stoney
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Museum, Cardiff
National Sporting Library & Museum, Middleburg, VA
National Trust, Plas Newydd
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester
Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens, Leicester
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Royal Collection Trust, London
Tate Britain, London
Upton House, National Trust, Banbury
Usher Gallery, Lincoln
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

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