the original artwork for one of the illustrations he produced for the victorian novel, ‘Windsor Castle, An Historical Romance’, by William Harrison Ainsworth, first published in serial form in Ainsworth’s Magazine from July 1842 to June 1843. This was a romanticised version of the history of King Henry VIII’s pursuit of Anne Boleyn to be his second wife, and all the courtly machinations that sought to intervene. Into it was woven an obscure folk tale which first appeared in literary form in William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. In essence, it tells of a mythical and ghostly figure adorned with the antlers of a stag, who haunts Windsor Great Forest, attacking cattle and turning their milk to blood. This scene was the 6th plate, illustrating chapter 10, ‘How Herne the Hunter was himself hunted’. which appeared in the 7th instalment, in February 1843. It tells of Henry’s desperate efforts to rid his park of this demonic figure by ordering the destruction of the oak tree where Herne was supposed to hide. It depicts the assembled woodmen and yeomen energetically felling and burning the mighty oak, overseen by Henry himself, mounted on horseback to the left, his position mirrored in an uncoloured remarque in the left margin, with the whole woodland scene set against the looming Round Tower of Windsor Castle in the background.
watercolour over pencil, 280 x 350 mm. (11 x 13 3/4 in), signed in ink, lower right within the image, titled in pencil in the lower margin, headed ‘Windsor Castle’ in pencil in the upper margin,