19C Engraving of Phosphorus by JF Herring Snr

19C Engraving of Phosphorus by JF Herring Snr

Presenting a FABULOUS and VERY RARE, ORIGINAL Mid-19th Century Engraving, after a painting by John Frederick Herring Snr…………….engraved by Charles Hunt….circa 1840.

This original engraving is of “Phosphorus” ….”The Winner of the Derby Stakes at Epsom, 1837” shown with his victorious rider/jockey…George Edwards.

The engraving reports that of the 1837 Epsom Derby…there were 131 Subscribers of which 17 started.

The Owner of Phosphorus is recorded as ” The Property of Lord Berners”.

“To Whom this Print by permission is most respectfully dedicated by the Publishers…. S & J Fuller”.

“London published July 1837 by S. & J. Fuller, at their Sporting Gallery, 34 Rathbone Place “.

“Painted by J. F. Herring “.

This Aquantint engraving beautifully captures the Winning Horse and Jockey that were victorious in the 1837 running of the Epsom Derby by John Frederick Herring, Sr.., one of Great Britain’s most renown sporting artists who did commissioned work for the Duchess of Kent and Queen Victoria. Herring’s Original aquatint, hand-colored prints are EXTREMELY POPULAR and HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER. The engraving is  presented under glass in its original oak frame with gilt fillets.

This hand colored aquatint of Phosphorus is by the VERY FAMOUS and HIGHLY DESIRABLE and SOUGHT AFTER British Artist John Frederick Herring Senior.


Mid 19C Aquatint Engraving of Phosphorus by John Frederick Herring Snr.

John Frederick Herring Sr. (12 September 1795 – 23 September 1865),[1] also known as John Frederick Herring I, was a painter, sign maker and coachman in Victorian England.[2][3] He painted the 1848 “Pharoah’s Chariot Horses” (archaic spelling “Pharoah”). He amended his signature “SR” (senior) in 1836, with the growing fame of his teenage son (1 of 4) John Frederick Herring Jr.

Herring, born in London in 1795, was the son of a London merchant of Dutch parentage, who had been born overseas in America. The first eighteen years of Herring’s life were spent in London, where his greatest interests were drawing and horses.[2] In the year 1814, at the age of 18, he moved to Doncaster in the north of England, arriving in time to witness the Duke of Hamilton’s “William” win the St. Leger Stakes horserace. By 1815, Herring had married Ann Harris; his sons John Frederick Herring Jr., Charles Herring, and Benjamin Herring were all to become artists, while his two daughters, Ann and Emma, both married painters. When she was barely of age in 1845 Ann married Harrison Weir.

In Doncaster, England, Herring was employed as a painter of inn signs and coach insignia on the sides of coaches,[3] and his later contact with a firm owned by a Mr. Wood led to Herring’s subsequent employment as a night coach driver. Herring spent his spare time painting portraits of horses for inn parlors, and he became known as the “artist coachman” (at the time).[2] Herring’s talent was recognized by wealthy customers, and he began painting hunters and racehorses for the gentry.

In 1830, John Frederick Herring, Senior left Doncaster for Newmarket, England, where he spent three years before moving to London, England.[2] During this time, Herring might have received tuition from Abraham Cooper. In London, Herring experienced financial difficulties and was given financial assistance by W. T. Copeland, who commissioned many paintings, including some designs used for the Copeland Spode bone china. In 1840-1841, Herring visited Paris, painting several pictures, on the invitation of the Duc d’Orleans (the Duke of Orleans), son of the French King Louis-Phillipe.

In 1845, Herring was appointed Animal Painter to HRH the Duchess of Kent, followed by a subsequent commission from the ruling Queen Victoria, who remained a patron for the rest of his life.

In 1853, Herring moved to rural Kent in the southeast of England and stopped painting horse portraits.[3] He spent the last 12 years of his life at Meopham Park near Tonbridge, where he lived as a country squire. He then broadened his subject matter by painting agricultural scenes and narrative pictures, as well as his better known sporting works of hunting, racing and shooting.

A highly successful and prolific artist, Herring ranks along with Sir Edwin Landseer as one of the more eminent animal painters of mid-nineteenth (19th) century Europe.[2] The paintings of Herring were very popular, and many were engraved, including his 33 winners of the St. Leger and his 21 winners of the Derby. Herring exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1818–1865,[3] at the British Institution from 1830–1865,[2] and at the Society of British Artists in 1836-1852, where Herring became Vice-President in 1842.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frederick_Herring_Sr.

Phosphorus (1834 – after 1843) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In his British career he ran three times and won two races. His most significant win came when he overcame a leg injury to win the 1837 Epsom Derby. Phosphorus was later sold and exported to Brunswick, but was unable to reproduce his English form. He was unsuccessful as a stallion.

Phosphorus, a bay horse with three white feet, was bred by his owner, Robert Wilson, 9th Baron Berners, at Didlington near Brandon on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk. Phosphorus’ dam, the Rubens mare, an unnamed daughter of Rubens, had already produced one winner of the 1000 Guineas in May-day (1834) and went on to produce another one in Firebrand (1842). She was also the dam of the outstanding racemare Camarine. Phosphorus was a lightly built, unprepossessing horse; viewing him immediately after his win at Epsom, the Farmer’s Magazine praised his trainer for the colt’s excellent condition, but could find little to compliment in his appearance.[1] The Sporting Magazine was even less flattering, describing Phosphorus as a “weak-looking little cripple”.

1837: three-year-old season

Phosphorus was unraced as a two-year-old and made his first racecourse appearance at Newmarket in April. Ridden by John Day, he finished second in the Newmarket Stakes, beaten by a length by Rat-trap. Day was also the jockey when Phosphorus returned to Newmarket in May against ten opponents in the Rowley Mile Plate. He started at odds of 5/2 and won easily by two lengths from an unnamed colt by Mulatto. Phosphorus was reported to be “in physic”[3] at the time of this race, meaning that he was running under some kind of medication.

Phosphorus was moved to a base at Epsom to complete his preparation for the Derby, but on his first gallop after arriving he sprained a foreleg. He was lame and confined to his box for four days, after which the soreness appeared to have faded although some swelling remained. By this time, however, Day had heard of the colt’s problems and rejected him in favour of a colt named Wisdom as his ride in the race.[4] On the morning of the Derby Phosphorus was walked for four hours and, having returned sound, was cleared by his owner to run, with the ride going to George Edwards.[5] News of Phosphorus’ problems led to his price for the Derby drifting, despite the fact that he had been “tipped” as a possible winner in a poem published in Bell’s Life magazine which ended:

“Tis over, the trick for the thousands is done,
George Edwards on Phosphorus the Derby has won!”[6]

On 25 May Phosphorus started at odds of 40/1 in a field of seventeen runners for the Derby, with Rat-trap being made the 6/4 favourite. The 1837 race was the first to be started by flag and the last to be held on a Thursday: the Derby was almost always run on a Wednesday for the next 150 years.[7] After a delay as the police cleared some of the 100,000 spectators from the course[8] and several false starts, the race got under way with a colt named Pocket Hercules taking the lead, and Phosphorus racing in third. The pace was exceptionally fast and most of the runners were struggling well before the turn into the straight, by which point Phosphorus and the second favourite Caravan had moved up to dispute the lead. The two colts pulled clear of the rest of the runners and raced side-by-side throughout the closing stages in a “magnificent” contest. Inside the final furlong the outsider, under a strong ride from Edwards, gained the advantage and won by a margin variously reported as a head, a neck or half a length from Caravan, with the pair six lengths clear of the field.[9]

Phosphorus aggravated his injury in winning the Derby and was reported to be “dead lame” after the race.[3] He did not run again that year and there were doubts that he could ever be returned to racing condition.[10]

1838: four-year-old season

Phosphorus was kept in training as a four-year-old, but the death of Lord Berners on 28 March[11] rendered all of his remaining race entries void under the rules of racing at the time. At Newmarket in April, the Derby winner was put up for auction and sold for 910 guineas. Later that year, Phosphorus was sold privately for 1,000 guineas to the Duke of Brunswick and exported to Germany.[9] He is known to have raced several times in Germany without success, but details of his later career are sketchy. He is reported to have been beaten “very easy” by a mare called My Lady in a race in Brunswick.[12]

Stud career

Following his retirement, Phosphorus stood as a stallion in Germany. He appears to have made no impact at stud.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphorus_(horse)

Mid 19C Aquatint Engraving of Phosphorus by John Frederick Herring Snr

Charles Hunt (1803 – 1877) was one of the Victorian Era’s finest engravers. He worked closely with John Frederick Herring Snr and Jnr and S & J Fuller Publishers.

Link: http://www.avictorian.com/Hunt_Charles.html

Mid 19C Aquatint Engraving of Phosphorus by John Frederick Herring Snr

S. & J. Fuller were renowned London based publishers from 1809 to 1862. They had their premises at 34 Rathbone Place, London.

Link: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=16890

Mid 19C Aquatint Engraving of Phosphorus by John Frederick Herring Snr

Additional Link: http://www.john-frederick-herring.org/



Mid 19C Aquatint Engraving of Phosphorus by John Frederick Herring Snr.

Condition: Overall in Superb Condition. 

We are of the opinion that this is an early ENGRAVING from circa 1840 (The Original would have been made in 1837). The engraving was one of a set of 5 bought together in the 1960’s and the one of ‘Foig-A-Ballagh’ by Harry Hall in the Collection is an original ‘proof’. It stands to reason that the Collection were all from the same time period. 

Provenance: Bought from a Collector in Kentucky, whose father had purchased this in Ireland in the 1960’s.

Dimensions: It is 26″ Wide and 20.5″ Long (In Frame)


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