MARTIN FRANK STAINFORTH
1866 – 1957
Oil on canvas
Signed & dated 1927
Frame size: 40 x 30 inches / 101 x 76 cm
Stock Number: PB023a/SUM13
Martin Stainforth began his career as a traditional artist doing religious portraits and wood engravings in the vein of the Italian Old Masters. The quality of his work brought invitations to exhibit at the Royal Academy as well as venues in Berlin, Brussels and Paris. At the beginning of the 20th century he began working as a magazine illustrator, but a visit to North Queensland in 1908 led to his settling in Australia and developing his skills as a painter and especially equine portraiture. Among his works there is a portrait of the 1912 AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Trafalgar. Expert with oils and watercolour, he had the gift of detecting horse’s characteristics, coats of fine beauty and texture, and the ability to depict speed and movement in his work. He was probably the finest painter of the racehorse ever to have worked in Australia.
He briefly returned to England in the mid twenties, then returned to Australia. In 1928, he left Australia to spend some time in New Zealand before once more returning to England in 1930 where he was commissioned to do the portraits of a number of racehorses including Hyperion for Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby and other prominent owners such as King George V. In 1934 he moved to New York City where he would remain for fifteen years. He was hired to paint many famous American horses, including future U.S. Hall of Famer Johnstown and 1937 U.S. Triple Crown winner War Admiral which was recently sold at auction for 84000$US. He returned to England in 1949, where he died in 1957. His work is represented at the Australian Jockey Club in Sydney, and at the National Museum of Racing, The Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs New York and The National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket.
Signed and dated 10.27 and inscribed Ranksborough Gorse, signed again dated 3.4.28 and inscribed Painted for Owen H Smith Esq, Old Langham Hall, Langham, Rutland, and further inscribed on the selvedge ‘This painting must not be varnished before the end of July MS 3.4.28.’ Mr Smith bred pedigree Red Poll cattle and Suffolk Punches at his model farm beneath Ranksborough Hill. His work is rarely available for sale.