2020 Fine Sporting Art, American Paintings, and Sculpture

57| Heywood Hardy (British, 1842-1933)

Hounds Of The Tickham Hunt, Kent


Oil on canvas, 30" x 65"

$20000. - $40000.

Provenance: Christie's New York, Decembner 5, 2003, Lot #67


Beginning in the mid-19th century, Charles Witherden of Kent hunted the surrounding fields and farmland for hare by foot. In this notoriously difficult hunting country, Witherden?s pursuits soon called for a mount. The move to a mounted hunt came about when Witherden?s hounds were joined by the ranks of Sir John Honeywood and Alfred Swaffer Esq. The combined packs were hunted by John Buckland, the great nephew of Charles Witherden. When Blackman?s hounds fell in with the combined packs in 1878, the Ashford Valley Harriers were formed under the mastership of John Buckland. Buckland was a huntsman of whom many anecdotes can be told. His hounds were fiercely loyal. One traveled more than 100 miles back to the area from Hampshire to be reunited with her master. Together with his son Harry, Buckland maintained the pack through World War I, hardly an easy feat given the extensive shortages faced by the county. When Harry Buckland, being of able body, was sent to the trenches, he wrote back to his father expressing concern for their pack, pledging his entire earnings to their upkeep and voicing his desire to be spared by the war to sport again with the good Old Harriers. As the war trudged on, hares became scarce as the county began to rely heavily on the game as a source of food. Therefore, the hunt turned its efforts toward the fox. Prior to the war they had hunted predominantly hare with the occasional fox. After the war they began hunting foxes exclusively, changing their official title to the Ashford Valley Foxhounds in 1922. After the death of his father in 1926, Harry Buckland, who appears lightly disguised in Siegfried Sassoon?s novel Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, took over the mastership. Not long after, the hunt fell into financial despair, only to be saved by American Chester Beatty. Beatty?s son was granted joint mastership of the hunt and with him were introduced a pack of Welsh hounds. Arrangements eventually broke down, and Harry Buckland resigned the mastership, marking the end of the Buckland reign over the hunt. Under a succession of Masters, the hunt continued for several decades, until the 2005 ban that barred hunting live quarry with hounds in England and Wales . The hunt still met as normal with the exception of hunting an artificial line dragged by a quad bike or rider. In 2013 the group disbanded and subsequently the Ashford Valley Hunt incorporated the former Tickham Hunt County into its own. Out of respect for the former group, they changed its name to the Ashford Valley Tickham Hunt. Today, the hunt operates under the mastership of Neil Staines, who has been serving since 1993. The hounds he has bred are now trained to adapt to hunting artificial scent. The local farmers generously keep the hunt going by continuing to invite participants onto their land, and good sport is always shown in return.

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