Seymour, James (DNB00)

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SEYMOUR, JAMES (1702–1752), animal-painter, son of James Seymour, a banker and amateur artist, who lived on terms of intimacy with Sir Peter Lely and Sir Christopher Wren and died in 1739, was born in 1702. He gained a great reputation for his hunting subjects and portraits of racehorses, many of which were engraved by Thomas Burford [q. v.] and Richard Houston [q. v.] He was employed by Charles Seymour, sixth duke of Somerset [q. v.], to decorate a room at Petworth with portraits of his racehorses, and Walpole tells a curious story of his truculent behaviour to the duke when the latter took offence at Seymour claiming relationship to him. Seymour's picture of the famous carriage match against time at Newmarket in 1750, which was at one time in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds, now belongs to Colonel Smith-Barry, M.P. The Duke of Grafton owns his ‘Mr. Delmé's Foxhounds,’ and several of his hunting and racing works are in the possession of Sir Walter Gilbey, bart. Seymour's sketches of the horse in its various attitudes show extraordinary power, but he never acquired much skill as a painter, his technique being hard and coarse and his colouring unpleasant. He died on 30 June 1752.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Dallaway and Wornum; Sports Exhibition Catalogue (Grosvenor Gallery), 1891; Gent. Mag. 1752, p. 336.]

F. M. O'D.