The Winning Post
Liberio Prosperi, Vanity Fair, 1888.
The Sport of Kings was brought to Great Britain by the Romans and developed considerably over the centuries. Initially owners, the majority of whom were aristocratic, rode their own horses but as racing became more organised increasingly employed their grooms to ride. The first formal race was held at Newmarket in the reign of Charles II, and more racecourses soon followed including Ascot in 1711. By the mid-19th century, racing was entrenched as a national event and jockeys, once little more than servants, were elevated in prominence to appear with the great and the good in the society magazine, Vanity Fair.
Liborio Prosperi, an Italian caricaturist who specialised in racing, drew his fantasy race with eight of 1888’s most successful jockeys, amassing 615 wins between them including the 108 wins of that year’s Champion Jockey, Fred Barrett. To the left are course judge and designer, John Clark and one of the greatest patrons of the turf, Sir John Astley.
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Zoological Sketches, 1861
Joseph Wolf was one of the most accomplished natural history artists working in London during the mid-19th century. Wolf’s Zoological Sketches were commissioned by the Zoological Society of London and published in parts from 1856-67 to provide a record of the rare species living in the society’s Vivarium.
Wolf was particularly noted for his explorations of animals and birds in relation to environment and his treatment of his subject as distinct and individual rather than an exemplar of species or extension of human sentiment. He set his subjects within a natural habitat albeit romanticised for dramatic effect. These original colour lithographs are an enduring testament to a passionate and lyrical talent heralded by critics and colleagues alike as the ‘greatest living animal painter’.
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Frederick Trench
Thames Views, 1825
Commissioned by Lt Col Trench to illustrate his proposals for the re-designing of the Embankment, these superbly detailed and annotated views were executed by the watercolourist Thomas Mann Baynes with the printing entrusted to the celebrated master of early lithography, Charles Hullmandel. Hullmandel’s skillful handling of the medium was much appreciated by contemporaries and was of great importance in popularising lithography as a printing method; he was instrumental in introducing lithography into England and to this day his work ranks with the finest of any period.
Although Trench submitted his plans to Parliament in 1825, it was not for another forty years that his proposals were executed. The Embankment as it is today still corresponds closely to Trench’s designs.
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