Coursing, whose origins can be traced back to carvings and murals in the Valley of the Kings, is the catching of prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent, and was a particularly popular sport during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By comparison with fox and stag-hunting, it was relatively inexpensive and easy to organise, and such was its following that by the time the Waterloo Cup (the Grand National of hare coursing) was first run in 1836, it attracted more interest and betting than any other sporting event.
Little is known about the artist Richard Jones, although, as Sally Mitchell comments, Jones was 'one of the better sporting artists of his time...[his] portraiture of both horse and rider was excellent and powerful' (S. Mitchell, The Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists, Suffolk, 1985, pp.285). In 1818, he gave a Reading address for his Royal Academy exhibit but had moved to Louth, Lincolnshire by 1824, and to Birmingham in 1830. Jones exhibited eleven pictures at the Royal Society of Birmingham Artists between 1832 and 1835, and seems to have painted a number of coursing scenes throughout his life.