Depicted in hunting attire Mr. Stratton is shown nonchalantly awaiting the arrival of his horse from the pier-gated stable entrance. Elegantly leaning against a fence, he holds his black top hat in one hand and his riding crop in the other.
The present portrait betrays the hand of a skilled miniature painter principally in the fine handling of the tones and the blended, almost imperceptible, brushstrokes in the face. By contrast the overall background demonstrates a skilled understanding of the art of watercolour painting displaying much precision and expressiveness of approach. Thus combined, these qualities bring a freshness and brilliance of style that highlights the abilities of this, as yet, unknown artist.
It is recorded that a certain Mr. Stratton was an active member of the Grafton Hunt by the 1840s and therefore this fine portrait could possibly be a depiction of this gentleman finished sometime around the early 1830s.
“In the spring of 1847 Lord Southampton bought a pack of hounds from Lord Shannon…by this time I had made the acquaintance of many good sportsmen, and Grafton Fridays were very popular with the Bicester men…There were some good men of our own in those days : Lord Charles FitzRoy, Mr. Rainald Knightley, the present Lord Harrington, Mr.Stratton, and Mr. Fred Yilliers”. (J.M.K. Elliott, ‘Fifty Years’ Fox-Hunting with the Grafton and Other Packs of Hounds’, 1900, p.27)
In 1842, after being ninth Master of the Quorn Hunt from 1827 to 1831, Charles FitzRoy, 3rd Baron Southampton (1804-1872) took over the Mastership of the Grafton Hunt from George FitzRoy, fourth Duke of Grafton, his father’s cousin. He remained its Master until 1862.