The presentation of the Brush to Ma’am

Hermann Fleury

German ( b.1850 - d.1933 )

The presentation of the Brush to Ma’am

  • Watercolour
  • Signed lower right

Image size 9.7 inches x 14.2 inches ( 24.5cm x 36cm )
Frame size 16.7 inches x 21.1 inches ( 42.5cm x 53.5cm )

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Sold by Big Sky Fine Art; this original painting by Hermann Fleury.
The watercolour is presented and supplied in a glazed frame dating from the 1950s (which is shown in these photographs).
The watercolour is signed lower right.

We are grateful to a descendant of this artist, who has corresponded and provided much of the information that follows; the Fleury family came from Germany to the UK in 1876, but probably moved to Germany from France at the time of the French revolution (the former family name being de Fleury).

Hermann Fleury was born on 2nd February 1850, one of nine children and was brought up in Stuttgart. He married Margaretha Elisabeth Schalck on 14th July 1873 in Frankfurt. They had three children in Germany, including Hermann Conrad Fleury, who was later known as the artist Hermann Fleury junior. The family moved to the UK and settled in Liverpool around 1876, later moving to Bradford around 1889. Hermann Fleury and his wife then had three more children and by 1901 it is known that the family was living in London. At this time the census records show that father and three sons were working in the home as artists, with another son working as a wood carver. One supposes that the home was either very large or very crowded!

Hermann Fleury was an accomplished artist and his works were exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the Manchester City Art Gallery among others. The National Portrait Gallery has one painting by him, of the eminent surgeon Hugh Owen Thomas. A second similar painting of the same sitter hangs in the corridor at the Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Hermann Fleury died in 1933, but left an artistic legacy. His son, Hermann Fleury junior enjoyed a career as an artist and was known for his coaching scenes, which were reproduced as prints and also as postcards. He signed his works “H. Fleury junior”. Hermann Fleury’s youngest son, Hugo, was also successful as a designer and some of his designs were used for stamps and bank notes.

This original watercolour painting depicts a traditional fox hunting scene, culminating in the presentation of the “brush”, the tail of the Fox, to the senior lady of the Hunt. There are seven male riders on horseback, all wearing red riding jackets, white jodhpurs and riding boots. Another rider has dismounted and is standing next to the lady, the only female in the painting, who is riding side-saddle. He is handing her the brush, a token of their collective triumph. All the riders hold their right hand up, saluting with their riding helmets in the air. In the foreground, we see half a dozen of the hounds, sniffing the ground and running around. In the background, there is a stone building with red tiled roof, probably of agricultural use, and open green fields, with tall hedging. It is a fine day and the overall scene is one of excitement and the participants joy.