Rare racing art for sale

  • Sotheby’s selling 11 rare paintings by John Frederick Herring, which are expected to raise in excess of £300,000

    A collection of works by the man regarded as one of the most successful British equestrian artists of the 19th century will come under the hammer on 21 March in London.

    Artist John Frederick Herrings Snr specialised in racehorses, painting many of the winners of the period.

    Head of British paintings at Sotheby’s, David Moore-Gwyn, said: “What is wonderful about this group of paintings is that because they have been in the same collection for more than 100 years, they are totally undisturbed and in their original frames. It’s a very rare find.”

    Each of the paintings up for sale celebrates a renowned racehorse of the 19th century British track.

    The most valuable picture is that of the chesnut, Mundig, which is expected to sell for between £50,000 and £70,000. The horse pulled offa betting coup for his owner by winning the Derby on his racecourse debut in 1835.

    Herrings’s scene depicts the Derby start with Mundig and 13 other racehorses. His owner, John Bowes, was only 21 at the time and still at Cambridge University.

    A painting of the bay Phosphorus is expected to raise up to £50,000. The horse went lame shortly before the Derby, so was backed at odds of 40 to 1. But the colt defied expectations to make a dramatic recovery and win the race. The strain, though, was too much, and he never raced again.

    Another of the big money pictures will be of the chesnut, Elis, another of racing’s most famous horses. The painting is expected to reach between £40,000 and £60,000.

  • Click here to read about a historic equine image which has been identified as the earliest known surviving photograph.
  • Click here to read about a drawing of a horse and rider by Leonardo da Vinci, which reached more than £8m at auction.
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