Painted for Thomas Grosvenor (assumed surname Egerton in 1821), 2nd Earl of Wilton [1799-1882], Heaton Hall, Lancashire; by inheritance to his son, Arthur Edward Holland Grey Egerton, 3rd Earl of Wilton [1833-1885], Heaton Hall; by inheritance to his wife, Elizabeth, Countess of Wilton [d. 1919]; her estate; (sale, Sotheby & Co., London, 16 May 1928, no. 155, as A Country Race Meeting); (M. Knoedler & Co., New York and London); purchased July 1928 by Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969], New York; bequest 1970 to NGA.
- Extended loan for use by The Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1989-1994.
The medium-fine canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The smoothly applied white ground masks the weave of the canvas. The painting is executed in thin, smooth, opaque layers, with low impasto in the highlights. The broad traction crackle in many of the brown pigmented layers suggests the presence of bitumen. The impasto has been slightly flattened during lining, but otherwise the painting is in excellent condition; paint loss or damage is minimal. The moderately thick pigmented natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.
- Paget, Major Guy. The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley (1782-1860). Leicester and New York, 1931: 71, 72, 138, repro. opp. 70.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 126, repro., as In the Paddock.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 597, color repro.
- Egerton, Judy. British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: the Paul Melllon Collection. London, 1978: 243.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 408, no. 582, color repro., as In the Paddock.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 152, repro., as In the Paddock
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 72-73, repro. 73.