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Thomas Boothby (1681-1752), even by 18th century standards, was a larger-than-life character. Inheriting the Tooley Park estate in Leicestershire at the age of just 15, and married three times in succession to the daughters of Staffordshire landowners, Boothby also maintained a mistress, whose disapproving local vicar was summarily thrown in a pond by Boothby after he informed the latter's wife of the adulterous arrangement. According to a contemporary account, the Reverend Pike "was dragged to land, almost lifeless".

Boothby devoted the rest of his life almost exclusively to foxhunting – then very much a minority sport compared to hunting stags and hares – having founded the Quorn Hunt in 1696, when still aged 15. He enjoyed a staggering 55 seasons as Master of the Hunt, a career longer than that of any of the Hunt’s 53 subsequent Masters.

The portrait, painted in the late 1690s, attributed to the Flemish painter Jean Baptist Medina (1659-1710), had been in the collection of the Boothby family at Tooley Park until the 1920s, when it was acquired by a private vendor along with the contents of the Boothby’s Leicestershire estate.

This unique record of the appearance of the pioneer of British fox hunting will carry an estimate of £20,000-30,000.