Richard Whitford, a Worcestershire artist was intended for a career as a customs & excise officer but lost his job in 1848 for reportedly misappropriating 5s. 3d. duty paid by a tobacco dealer.
He returned with his family to his native Evesham and began painting as a profession.
Based where he was, a great sheep breeding area of England, sheep portraiture figured heavily in his work.
Whitfords earliest known painted works are of horses painted in 1855.
A large part of his clientele were local gentry, but he did have aristocratic patrons and he executed several commissions for Queen Victoria.
From the year 1862 he signed himself ‘Animal painter to the Queen’.
His animal paintings have enormous charm
Animals are painted against a backdrop of a landscape usually evocative of the Cotswold countryside with its rolling hills.
A church spire or windmill usually features in the background, with birds wheeling in the sky above.
Whitford died in London in 1890.
In 1885 the signature on his paintings changed to a monogram.