John Charles Maggs was a well-known coaching scene painter who was born at 5 James Street, Bath in 1819. His father, James Maggs was an artist and furniture japanner and his uncle was a portrait painter. He studied in Italy for 2 years before returning to Bath where he established himself as a painter and began to specialise in coaching scenes.
He ran a school of painting at his studio located at 34 Gay Street, known as the Bath Art Studio, where his daughter assisted him. Although he does not appear to have exhibited he enjoyed great popularity during his lifetime winning important patrons such as Queen Victoria, the Duke of Beaufort and Joseph Grego. He died at his home in Bath on 3 November 1896 aged 77.
Maggs painted a number of coaching scenes based in Bath. This fine example shows a coach and horses pulling up outside the Saracens Head in Broad Street. The first regular stage coach from London to Bath started in 1667 running 3 times a week, with a daily service beginning in 1711. On Monday 2 August, 1784, the first mail-coach in England set out between London and Bristol, stopping at Bath and provided a quicker and safer way of transporting mail as well as passengers. The Bath Road, (A4) was the main road linking Bristol and London and it took 2 days for passengers to travel between Bath and London. By the mid-18th century, England was crisscrossed with coach routes, and hundreds of inns were spread out at seven to 10-mile stages across the land. Coaching inns provided refreshment, lodging, and fresh horses for weary travellers.
The Saracens Head was one of a number of coaching inns that sprang up after the London-Bath route was opened. It dates from around 1713 and is one of the oldest pubs in the city. A booklet about Gloucestershire dated 1788, reported that a post coach ran from the Saracens Head to Gloucester every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning at 6am. In 1818, a local commercial directory listed a number of coaching services that ran from the Saracens Head including the London Regulator Light Coach. Charles Dickens is reputed to have stayed at the inn whilst writing his novel Pickwick Papers. On the right can be seen the church of St Michaels in its earlier form, prior to being rebuilt during the 19th century.
|Presentation||The work is housed in its original gilt frame which is in excellent condition.|
|Condition||As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.|
|Image Size||13.5 inches x 25.5 inches (34.5cm x 65cm)|
|Framed Size||21 inches x 33 inches (53.5cm x 84cm)|