The Lion Hunt by Horace Vernet is a long standing artwork in our collection, but has become a best seller, due to its vibrant colours.
At 57.1x81.7cm, the painting is relatively small, but packs in a lot of details. Being a keen traveller, and fascinated by Arab civilisation, Vernet was one of many artists of the time to depict "Orientalist" subjects at the time. It is likely that this scene is a recollection of his first of four visits to Algeria, but he also travelled to the Middle East during his lifetime. Vernet is often praised as reflecting the realism of scenes in his paintings, over the idealism that his audience may have been accustomed to.
When the painting was first exhibited in Paris in 1839, it was titled "Hunt in the Sahara Desert 28 May 1833" which indicates that he did indeed witness a scene similar to the one painted. Vernet was by no means the first artist to depict scenes such as this, with Rubens and Delacroix also painting similar subject matters. The subject of a lion hunt had fascinated artists for centuries, and the exotic setting made works with this theme appealing to a Western audience.
The work was purchased in 1860 by the 4th Marquess of Hertford, and it is his art collection that forms the nucleus of the Wallace Collection, London today, where this painting still hangs.
Vernet was born in The Louvre, Paris, 1789 during the French Revolution where his parents were staying at the time. In his early career he chose to the military achievements of the time, under Napoleon Bonaparte, and chose to reject the traditional academic French style of the time which was heavily influenced by Classicism, opting instead for a more familiar and relaxed style of painting.
Following the Bourbon Restoration, Vernet gained recognition for a series of battle paintings which were commissioned by the soon to be king, Louis-Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, who turned out to be one of his greatest patrons. So much so that whole of the Constantine room at the Palace of Versailles was decorated by him, in the short space of three years.
“What I love about this work is the energy and dynamism depicted by Vernet, which gives real life to the brutality of the scene depicted. As a pocket square, there are so many vibrant colours that it makes for a number of colour combinations that work well particularly in the warmer months against a lighter jacket. As a lining it looks particularly stunning when contrasted against a darker jacket fabric.”
Simon Cranston, Co-founder
What Makes Our Pocket Squares Special?
1. We use the finest mulberry silk with our silk pocket squares and linings. The quality of the fabric can be seen in the texture and the level of detail and vibrancy of the finished product. All our silks are printed in Macclesfield, England, an area renowned for silk printing for the past 200 years.
2. We believe that 40cm is the minimum size for a high quality pocket square. Any smaller and it will slide down inside your pocket with any movement of your jacket, while it limits the number of folds you can achieve as there is not enough volume to hold it in place. It goes without saying we would never advocate any form of pocket square holder. All our pocket squares are either 42cm x 42cm or 40cm x 40cm.
3. We take the utmost care in printing our silk pocket squares and linings which results in truly remarkable levels of detail. Faces, objects and colours are sharp and well defined to give a truly stunning finish. We also take exceptional care with the colour bleed, so the print is almost as crisp on the back as it is on the front, allowing for an unlimited number of folds to a pocket square.
4. The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each square its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk must be softy turned over with a handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.