H S Cottrell was a most competent 19th century sporting painter who specialised in painting racehorse and hunter portraits as well as a few hunting scenes.
Comparatively little is known about his life and he did not exhibit in the London exhibitions such as the Royal Academy or the British Institute. This is not unusual though as a good number of highly proficient artists from outside the major metropolitan areas were able to earn a good living just from commissions, obviating the necessity of advertising themselves and their talent in public exhibitions. Word of mouth, reputation and personal recommendation would suffice to obtain a steady stream of work.
Recorded examples of his paintings include such titles as the renowned trotting horse 'Confidence' shown in action, "The Bath to London Royal Mail Coach", "Return from Coursing", and "Tom, a favourite Pony, the property of Mr J Hawgood". The coaching scenes would sometimes be depicted passing hunts in full cry, a theme popular with J F Herring. Stable interiors with a groom with a hunter, and almost invariably a dog, was a common subject also as was a sportsman returning home from a day's shooting. These latter subjects are somewhat redolent of artists such as Martin Theodore Ward and Edmund Bristow. Most of Cottrell's works were of a comparatively small size.
A Dictionary of British Animal Painters - J C Wood
The Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists- Sally Mitchell
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