Lot 80
  • 80

John Frederick Herring Sr.

Estimate
300,000 - 500,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • John Frederick Herring Sr.
  • The Doncaster Gold Cup 1825: Lottery, Longwaist, Cedric and Figaro
  • signed J. F. Herring and dated 1827 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Mr. and Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords
Richard Green, London
Acquired from the above

Catalogue Note

The present work is one of John Frederick Herring’s finest depictions of Doncaster racecourse, a subject revisited by the artist in numerous variations, including the 1825 composition, which sold in these rooms (November 4, 2011, lot 101). The Doncaster Cup was founded in 1766 and is the oldest continuous horse race in Britain and was the grandest object offered as a racing prize when Herring depicted this scene. 

Foregrounded at the composition's left side is the Cup's eventual winner, Lottery, preparing to start with G. Nelson up. Lottery's notable physical prowess is brilliantly conveyed. Standing fully sixteen hands high, he looms over his groom. The tense, sleek, musculature suggest his famous speed and the wide eye and proud stance remind the viewer of his strong spirit. Lottery's closest match was Mr. Craven's Longwaist (shown at the left of the three horses standing in mid-ground), bested by half a neck. Left over half a mile behind, the rest of the field included Mr. Lumley's second place finisher Falcon, Mr. Farquharson's third place Figaro (the right most of the three horses), with also-rans comprising Lord Silgo's Starch, Mr. Lambton's Cedric (the middle horse of the three), the Duke of Leeds' Crowcatcher, Lord Exeter's Zealot, and Mr. Duncome's bay filly St. Helena. Though many consider the 1825 Cup Lottery's finest achievement, that same year he won the Fitzwilliam Stakes at York and would go on to win Mr. Whittaker a second Gold Cup through a victory at Preston. Lottery would end his life in France, one of many English thoroughbreds imported in the 1830s by Henri Lacase, a buyer for the French National stud of the Orleans monarchy.

Despite being essentially self-taught, Herring's paintings are undoubtedly the most accurate depictions of the history of the turf in the first half of the nineteenth century. The artist had sketched animals since childhood. At the age of eighteen, while working as a coachman, he was able to study the horses as well as the other breeds that he encountered in his travels through the English countryside. By the age of twenty-five he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy and his talent was eventually recognized by wealthy patrons who commissioned him to paint their hunters and racehorses, including Queen Victoria herself.

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