Presenting a FABULOUS and VERY RARE Pair of Late 19th Century Chromolithograph Engravings after a painting by Ben (Benjamin) Herring, engraved by Charles Hunt circa 1875.
These engravings are both head-titled “McQueen’s Steeple Chasings” and sub-titled “Restive At The Post” and the other, “The Run In”.
Both are noted on the bottom (from left to right) as being “Painted by Ben Herring” .. “London Published Feb 27th 1875 by G.P. McQueen, 37 Great Marlborough Street, Regent Street” … “Engraved by Charles Hunt & Sons”.
These engravings appear to be hand embellished with aquantint watercolors and beautifully capture 2 scenes of riders/jockey’s and their horses, in their owners colors, participating in a Steeplechase race in England in the mid to late 19C.
John Frederick Herring, Sr., (Benjamin’s father) was one of Great Britain’s most renowned 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.
These engravings are HUGELY IMPRESSIVE, RARE and in GREAT CONDITION for their age!
They are framed, matted and under glass. We are of the opinion that they were re-framed and re-matter in the early 20C. The frames are a bronze/gold color and the matting is a pale green cloth matting.
We took them out of their frames to examine more closely and are satisfied that these are early engravings from 1875. Each one has the indent lines one would expect with the pressing of the original plate. The ‘Resting at The Post” one has a period signature on the back, but we cannot make it out. We think this would have been the original owner, but we can discern that his surname begins with “Mc”, meaning he was most likely Scottish or Irish.
BIOGRAPHY – Benjamin Herring (1830 – 1871)
Benjamin Herring was the youngest of six children born to John F. Herring, Sr. (1795 – 1865). Like his siblings, Benjamin received all of his training from his father and concentrated all of his efforts on sporting paintings.
Though his style is very similar to the rest of his family – with a realistic rendition of the horse and fluidity of movement – his choice of coloration is quite different. Instead of the deep rich tones so prevalent in the palettes of other members of the Herring family, Benjamin favored a more pastel one.
Benjamin died at the relatively young age of 41 after producing only a small body of work and it is widely believed that his finest paintings were produced towards the end of his career.
During his short career he exhibited a few works at both the Royal Society of British Artists and the British Institution.
A steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. Steeplechasing is primarily conducted in Ireland (where it originated), the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia, and France. The name is derived from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside.
Modern usage of the term “steeplechase” differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to “hurdle” races where the obstacles are much smaller. The collective term “jump racing” or “National Hunt racing” is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively (although, properly speaking, National Hunt racing also includes some flat races). Elsewhere in the world, “steeplechase” is used to refer to any race that involves jumping obstacles.
The most famous steeplechase in the world is the Grand National run annually at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, since its inception in 1836 (the official race was held three years later), which in 2014 offered a prize fund of £1 million.
The steeplechase originated in Ireland in the 18th century as an analogue to cross-country thoroughbred horse races which went from church steeple to church steeple, hence “steeplechase”. The first steeplechase is said to have been the result of a wager in 1752 between Cornelius O’Callaghan and Edmund Blake, racing four miles (6.4 km) cross-country from St John’s Church in Buttevant to St Mary’s Church (Church of Ireland) in Doneraile, in Cork, Ireland. An account of the race was believed to have been in the library of the O’Briens of Dromoland Castle. Most of the earlier steeplechases were contested cross-country rather than on a track, and resembled English cross country as it exists today. The first recorded steeplechase over a prepared track with fences was run at Bedford in 1810, although a race had been run at Newmarket in 1794 over a mile (1600 m) with five-foot (1.5 m) bars every quarter mile (400 m) and the first recorded steeplechase of any kind in England took place in Leicestershire in 1792, when three horses raced the eight miles from Barkby Holt to Billesdon Coplow and back.
The first recorded hurdle race took place at Durdham Down near Bristol in 1821. There were 5 hurdles on the mile long course, and the race was run in three heats.
The first recognised English National Steeplechase took place on Monday 8 March 1830. The 4-mile (6.4 km) race, organised by Thomas Coleman of St Albans, was run from Bury Orchard, Harlington in Bedfordshire to the Obelisk in Wrest Park, Bedfordshire. The winner was Captain Macdowall on “The Wonder”, owned by Lord Ranelagh, who won in a time of 16 minutes 25 seconds. Report of the event appeared in the May and July editions of Sporting Magazine in 1830.
Charles Hunt (1803-1877), individual; printmaker; publisher/printer; British; Male.
Addresses: 24 Brydges Street, Covent Garden
Broad Court, Bow Street
13 Theobalds Road
18 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London.
Aquatint engraver and etcher of sporting prints, often coloured, particularly after G. H. Alken Jr, James Pollard, F. C. Turner and John F. Herring. Published works with George Hunt (qv. who was almost certainly his cousin) and Henry Pyall in the 1820s. Career blossomed in the 1830s when he formed a new partnership with his cousin. Bankrupt in 1840 and again in 1853.
Bibliography: John Hickman, ‘The Engravings of Charles and George Hunt, 1820-1880: Racing, Coaching, Hunting, Landscapes & Caricatures’ (Unicorn Press, 2017).
G P McQueen: primary name: primary name: McQueen, G P, other name: other name: McQueen, J. Details unknown; publisher/printer; British Other dates1868-1883 (fl. c.)
Address37 Great Marlborough Street, Regent Street, London (1871, 1875-1876)
Rue de Dunkerque, Paris (1871, J McQueen, publishing simultaneously from Gt. Marlborough St.)
49 Great Marlborough Street, Regent Street, London (1877)
70 Berners Street, Oxford Street, London (1882, 1883)
Biography: Publisher; presumably related to McQueen & Co and Philip McQueen.
J McQueen is listed at the Marlborough address in 1868 and 1871.
THESE ARE A PAIR OF RARE PRINTS!
19C Pair of Ben Herring Horse Racing Engravings.
Provenance: Bought from a Collector in Dallas
Condition: Very good original condition. The engravings have not lost any of their color, detail or vibrancy. Re-framed and matted in the early 20C.
Dimensions: In Frame each is 36″ Wide and 27″ Tall and 1″ deep.