antique prints, maps and watercolors

James Pollard. (Doncaster Races) "Race for the Great St Leger Stakes" Plate 1. Ackerman & Co., London 1837. The Set of four .$2,500.00

Plate 1 "Race for the Great St. Leger Stakes, 1836  Vexation - The False Start"

Sporting prints are almost exclusively a British phenomenon. The English tradition of hunt and horse racing produced many beautifully rendered paintings and prints. Those engravings produced by Ackerman & Co of London, the renown sporting print publisher of the early 19th century, were superior to others being offered, as the firm hired the finest artists, engravers and colorists of the day. This series of four aquatint engravings was taken after the paintings of James Pollard (1792-1867)  a very successful and widely published painter of sporting, racing and steeplechase subjects. He excelled at both painting landscapes and figures which made him quite popular with dealers as well as private patrons who would commission him to paint their thoroughbreds.

The St Leger Race, is known as the oldest classic turf race. The first race was held on September 25, 1776, as a sweepstake of 2 miles on Cantley Common in Doncaster. There is some controversy over the naming of the St Leger. It is claimed that the name of the race was debated over a meal at Wentworth Woodhouse, the seat of the Marquess of Rotherham. When it was suggested that it should be called the Rockingham Stakes, the Marquess is said to have replied, ' No it was my friend St Leger who suggested the thing to me - call it after him.'

English sporting prints were widely produced and relatively inexpensive to acquire at the time. Since they documented an event, once the immediate relevance of the occasion ceased to command interest, a new set of prints would be produced replacing the other. That is why these prints, once so easy to find, now are so difficult, as they were discarded or relegated to hot attics, or damp barns and did not survive the years. This series is now quite scarce. We are pleased to offer the complete set of four prints.

One of four aquatint engravings hand colored.
19 x 28 inches sheet.
Excellent condition