As part of our continuing partnership with Historic Houses for the Collections Award, from 12-15 June we are privileged to be hosting ‘Sport and the Country House’, a loan exhibition of furniture, works of art and curiosities from some of Britain’s most loved country houses. The artefacts have become a part of our national heritage; each has a story to tell about how the country house has shaped, and formed our perception of, modern sport.
As part of the exhibition, we have a public vote for the ‘Best in Show’ award - YOUR chance to choose your favourite! If you are unable to attend the exhibition, do not worry, there is now a virtual tour to enable you to cast your vote. Voting closes on Saturday 1 July.
Read on to take your virtual tour of the exhibition, learn more about the different objects, and finally cast your vote!
Take your virtual tour!
Laurence Stephen Lowry, Yachts at Sea
Signed and dated 1967
Oil on millboard
Provenance: Bequeathed by Sir Edward Heath, 2005 Lowry was drawn to the beauty and danger of the sea: “It’s the battle of life – the turbulence of the sea … I have been fond of the sea all my life, how wonderful it is, yet how terrible it is.” His leisure time was often spent at the seaside, from family holidays at Lytham St Anne’s and Rhyl to long stays at the Seaburn Hotel in Sunderland when he retired. Lowry did not sail but enjoyed watching ships.
Although Lowry is better known for his bustling cityscapes, seascapes comprise a significant part of his oeuvre. He stated that they were “just an expression of [my] own loneliness.”
The simplicity of the composition of this oil sketch showcases the virtuosity of Lowry’s painting technique. Using his preferred limited palette of flake white with touches of ivory black, yellow ochre, Prussian blue and vermilion he worked the painting up in stages. The sails of the yachts appear to have been smudged on with a finger. The texture and subtle tones of the paint capture the misty meeting of sea and sky.
When Sir Edward Heath was in his late forties his doctor advised him to get more exercise. A friend thought sailing might fit the bill. It soon became an important part of his life, although he described it “like standing under a cold shower tearing up £5 notes.” During a sailing career spanning 21 years he skippered a series of ocean yachts, all named Morning Cloud, to victory in international races. This seascape represents a collection of marine paintings and nauticalia at Arundells; a synthesis of Heath’s interests of sailing and art collecting.
The painter and the politician do not, at first glance, have much in common. However, they shared a love of the sea, and this painting tells of the more private persona of each individual.
On loan from: Arundells
A Close Helmet With Bevor And Pronounced Raised Comb
Early 19th Century
Mounted with plume holder, two-part visor, guard for the mark formed of three laminated plates back and front, the helmet mounted with the crest depicting the Wild Man of Atholl.
Provenance: Worn by Lord Glenlyon at the Eglinton Tournament in 1839 Blair Castle The Eglinton Tournament of 1839 was a re-enactment of a medieval joust and revel held in North Ayrshire, Scotland between 28 and 30 August. It was funded and organized by Archibald, Earl of Eglinton, and took place at Eglinton Castle in Ayrshire. The tournament was attended by Lord Glenlyon where he met his future wife Anne Home-Drummond when she present him with her glove as a favour before he took part in the joust. The Tournament was a deliberate act of Romanticism, and drew 100,000 spectators. It is primarily known now for the ridicule poured on it by the Whigs. The preparations, and the many works of art commissioned for or inspired by the Eglinton Tournament, had an effect on public feeling and the course of 19th-century Gothic revivalism. Its ambition carried over to events such as the lavish Tournament of Brussels in 1905, and presaged the historical re-enactments of the present. While others made a profit, Lord Eglinton had to absorb losses. The Earl’s granddaughter, Viva Montgomerie recalled in her memoirs that “he had spent most of the wealth of the estate”.
On loan from: The collection at Blair Castle, Perthshire.
Peter Tillemans (1684-1734)
Newmarket Racecourse – The Long Course
Oil On Canvas
62cm x 130cm
Provenance: Possibly commissioned by Augustus Berkeley, 4th Earl of Berkeley for Berkeley Castle
Peter Tillemans (c. 1684 – 5 December 1734) was a Flemish painter, best known for his works on sporting and topographical subjects. The development of painting on sporting themes was centred on the Newmarket Racecourse in the market town of Newmarket in Suffolk. Together with his friend John Wootton (a pupil of Jan Wyck) and James Seymour, Tillemans was one of the three founders of the English sporting school; their paintings “show the first marriage of the topographical tradition of landscape with a sporting element”. Because both Wootton and Tillemans omitted to sign many of their works, some of them are difficult to tell apart.
The present exhibit shows King George I on Newmarket Heath watching two horses racing accompanied by other notables also on horseback. Tillemans seldom dated his paintings and the bulk of his work was done after about 1720, the present work like others similar were painted a good while after the Royal visit as mementos for some of those present on the actual occasion in 1717. Another version of The Long Course is in the Government Art Collection.
On Loan from: Berkeley Castle
A Velocipede Bicycle
Mid 19th Century
A velocipede is a human-powered land vehicle with one or more wheels. The most common type of velocipede today is the bicycle. The term was probably first coined by Karl von Drais in French as velocipede for the French translation of his advertising leaflet for his version of the Laufmaschine, also now called a ‘dandy horse’, which he had developed in 1817. It is ultimately derived from the Latin velox, veloc- ‘swift’ + pes, ped- ‘foot’.
The term ‘velocipede’ is today mainly used as a collective term for the different forerunners of the monowheel, the unicycle, the bicycle, the dicycle, the tricycle and the quadracycle developed between 1817 and 1880. It refers especially to the forerunner of the modern bicycle, such as this exhibit, that was propelled, like a modern tricycle, by cranks.
On Loan from: The Earl of Hopetoun, Hopetoun House, South Queensferry
A George III Mahogany ‘Hunt Table’
Late 18th Century / Early 19th Century
Of horseshoe design, with four turned and tapering legs, ending in casters Originally designed to fit around a fire surround, this type of hunt table originally had a baize curtain suspended from the brass rail as protection from the heat of the fire. For similar example see Vol.11. Christopher Gilbert. Furniture of Temple Newsum & Lotherton Hall P.495/496.
On Loan from: Restoration House, Rochester
A Rare Pair Of Cockfighting Chairs
County Sligo, Circa 1730
Of Provincial Structure
Cockfighting was a blood sport which was enjoyed by both the landed and middle classes, as well as the poor in early modern Britain. The sport itself was underpinned by the wealth of the upper classes but was rare as a sport in which all could take part despite the class divide. Bets on this game could amount to thousands of pounds, an exorbitant amount of money in those days, and many respectable gentlemen lost all their money this way.
The sport was banned outright in England and Wales and in the British Overseas Territories with the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. Sixty years later, in 1895, cockfighting was also banned in Scotland, where it had been relatively common in the 18th century. A reconstructed cockpit from Denbigh in North Wales may be found at St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff and a reference exists in 1774 to a cockpit at Stanecastle in Scotland.
On loan from: Restoration House, Rochester
J Butler (British 18th Century)
The Finish Line
Oils on canvas (4)
Provenance: Possibly supplied to Sir Justinian Isham, 5th Baronet for Lamport Hall Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practiced in civilizations across the world since ancient times. In Britain, horse racing became well-established in the 18th century, and continued to grow in popularity.
King Charles II (reigned 1649 to 1685) was an avid sportsman who gave Newmarket its prominence. By 1750, the Jockey Club was formed as a way to control the Newmarket races, set the rules of the game, prevent dishonesty, and create a level field. The Epsom Derby began in 1780. The first of the five classic races began with the St Leger Stakes in 1776. In 1814, the system was complete with five annual races. While Newmarket and the Jockey Club set the standards, most of the racing took place in landowners’ fields and in rising towns for small cash prizes and enormous local prestige.
The system of wagering was essential to funding and growing of the industry, and all classes, from paupers to royalty. participated. Members of high society were in control, and they made a special effort to keep out the ‘riff-raff’ and to keep the criminal element away from the wagering. With real money at stake, the system needed skilled jockeys, trainers, grooms, and experts at breeding, which opened up new careers for working-class rural men. Every young ambitious stable boy could dream of making it big.
The Country House has played, and still plays, a pivotal role in the continuing development of the sport with prestigious studs still located at houses such as Sandringham, Floors Castle and Highclere Castle.
On loan from: The Lamport Hall Preservation Trust
James Seymour (1702-1752)
The Stages Of The Hunt
Oils on canvas (4)
Provenance: Possibly supplied to Sir Justinian Isham, 5th Baronet for Lamport Hall The early sporting artist James Seymour was born in London, the son of James Seymour Sr, a wealthy banker, goldsmith, diamond merchant and amateur artist who supplied the plate for racing trophies. The elder Seymour traded at the sign of the Flower-de-Luce in Mitre Court, Fleet Street, and was a member, with John Wootton, of the Virtuosi Club of St Luke, a gentlemen’s club for artists and art lovers. Through his father, the young Seymour was introduced to the leading artists of the day. Although he had no formal art training, he learnt to draw by studying pictures and prints in his father’s collection.
Seymour’s love of art was matched only by his love of horses. He began spending time at racetracks early on, and before long found himself absorbed in the sport – drawing, painting, owning, breeding, and racing horses. His art proved popular among the prominent sporting families of the day. Country House involvement in the sport as well as the patronage granted to artists like Seymour has meant that the sport has been immortalised in the publics perceptions of country and aristocratic life.
The contemporary diarist of the art world George Vertue set out Seymour’s career as follows: Jimmy Seymor ... from his infancy had a genius to drawing of Horses (this he pursued with great Spirit. set out with all sorts ... The darling of his Father run thro some thousands - livd gay high and loosely - horse raceing gameing women &c. country houses. never studied enough to colour or paint well. but his necessityes - obliged him. to work or starve. thus his time passd. the latter part of his life in baseness and want of all necessaries. and dyed in Town. in the lowest circumstances & in debt - Southwark June - 1752. aged about or under 50. (‘Vertue Note Books III’, Walpole Society, vol.22, 1934, p.86)
On loan from: The Lamport Hall Preservation Trust
Layer Marney Tower
Avery Jockey Scales
Gerald Charrington, in his youth, was a keen Point to Pointer. Jockey scales are still an important piece of equipment at any horseracing event, as the Handicap System is organised by the weight of a Jockey.
These scales are purely decorative, as there are currently no Jockeys in the household. However, they have become a Christmas holiday feature. Amused by the story that Guests staying at Sandringham would be weighed on arrival and departure there is much fun had as the Christmas household arrives and departs. Fortunately they can be very hard to read, after a good evening!
On Loan from: Nicholas Charrington, Layer Marney Tower, Essex
The North Wing, Callaly castle
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer Ra (1802 -1873)
The Bearded Stage Of Ghurach Achnacarry
Brown ink drawing
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA was an English painter and sculptor. He was a notable figure in 19th-century British art, and his works can be found in Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kenwood House and the Wallace Collection in London. His popularity in Victorian Britain was considerable, and his reputation as an animal painter was unrivalled. Landseer was particularly associated with Scotland, which he had first visited in 1824 and the Highlands in particular, which provided the subjects (both human and animal) for many of his important paintings.
The paintings included his early successes The Hunting of Chevy Chase (1825–26), An Illicit Whisky Still in the Highlands (1826–1829) and his more mature achievements, such as the majestic stag study The Monarch of the Glen (1851) and Rent Day in the Wilderness (1855–1868).
Thanks to the patronage of the landed classes in Victorian Britain, Landseer is perhaps now considered a pre-eminent creator of the nineteenth and twentieth century’s romanticised vision of the Scottish Highlands.
On loan from: Callaly Castle
The North Wing, Callaly Castle
A Nymphenburg White Porcelain Boar Hunt Group
Late 19th Century
With an impressed Wittelsbach shield mark. This group was manufactured after the design by Johann Wilhelm Lanz. Lanz worked for the Frankenthal porcelain manufactory from 1751 until 1761. The design then became the property of Nymphenburg after the merger of the Frankenthal and Nymphenburg porcelain factories.
A version of this model, entitled A Large Hunting Centrepiece with Boar Hunt, was sold at the Dorotheum on 17th December 2020.
On loan from: Callaly Castle
Rowing Oar Blade, Christ’s College 6th May Boat
Paint on wooden oar
length 12 foot
The full length oar is an original traditional Christ’s College (Cambridge University) presentation rowing oar with gilt calligraphy and college insignia. The writing on the trophy blade is in very good condition giving the names and weights of the crew and the colleges they ‘Bumped’.
Provenance: The oar is based at Cragend Farm, owned by Shaun and Lou Renwick. G.P. Renwick is No 3 on this oar. Guy Renwick, was Shaun’s father, and went on to be a Commonwealth and Olympic Bob Sleigh Champion in Team GB with Tony Nash, in two and four man bobs, in 1964 and 1968.
On Loan from: Cragend Farm, Renwick
Anglo-Irish Greyhound Racing Silver Trophy Cup
Silver Lid, Silver Cup And Wooden Plinth
Inscribed: The Inaugaural Anglo-Irish International Cup, 1954, Presented By, Arthur J. Morris, Won By, Major G.A. Renwick’s R.F. Dog, Holystone Handful, Trainer A Scott.
Provenance: The cup resides at Cragend Farm, owned by Shaun and Lou Renwick. Major Gus Renwick M.P. was Shaun’s great grandfather, a keen sportsman who won many greyhound championships including the Waterloo Cup in 1953. Major Renwick was at The Somme in 1916 and was fortunate enough to return home safely. The Renwick Memorial ‘The Response’ in Newcastle-upon-Tyne paid homage to all the soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War and was sponsored by Major Renwick’s father, Sir George Renwick, a shipbuilder i1870-1930 and, although tenuous, he is likely to have crossed paths with Lord Armstrong at some point in his career.
On Loan from: Cragend Farm, Renwick
An Arts And Crafts Tennis Racket Stand
The modern form of tennis originated in Birmingham, England, in the late 19th century as lawn tennis. It had close connections both to various field (lawn) games such as croquet and bowls as well as to the older racket sport today called real tennis.
Between 1859 and 1865 Harry Gem, a solicitor, and his friend Augurio Perera developed a game that combined elements of racquets and the Basque ball game pelota, which they played on Perera’s croquet lawn in Birmingham, England. In 1872, along with two local doctors, they founded the world’s first tennis club on Avenue Road, Leamington Spa. This is where “lawn tennis” was used as the name of an activity by a club for the first time.
On 8 December 1874, British army officer Walter Clopton Wingfield wrote to Harry Gem, commenting that he (Wingfield) had been experimenting with his version of lawn tennis “for a year and a half”. In December 1873, Wingfield designed and patented a game which he called sphairistikè, meaning “ball-playing”, and which was soon known simply as “sticky” – for the amusement of guests at a garden party on his friend’s estate of Nantclwyd Hall, in Llanelidan, Wales. The game remained a popular past time at country house weekend parties throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Arts and Craft movement coincided with the popularity of tennis and a Country House sport. Thus having tennis courts built was considered fashionable. The present stand was made in the Rodmarton Estate workshops for the house.
On loan from: Rodmarton Manor
Ushaw Historic House, Chapels & Gardens, Durham
Cat Stick And Ball
Ash, lignum vitae, pitch and hemp
Cat, a game for two teams of seven players, was played on Cat rings located on the Bounds Field. Two of the three Cat rings are still visible in the field. The game shares similarities with rounders but has its own idiosyncratic and arcane rules. The Book of Rules, copies of which are located in Ushaw’s archive, is bafflingly complex to those unfamiliar with the game. Players were responsible for making their own cat-sticks, usually of ash, and the pitch and hemp coated lignum vitae balls.
It is thought that the game may have first developed at Ushaw’s predecessor college at Douai in northern France. It has been suggested that the name ‘Cat’ may derive from quatorze, French for fourteen – the number of players involved.
The game, unique to Ushaw, was played throughout Ushaw’s time as a Catholic seminary.
On loan from: Ushaw Historic House, Chapels & Gardens
George Stubbs, A.R.A (1724-1806)
Sir John Nelthorpe Out Shooting On Barton Field
Oil On Panel
Provenance: Painted for the sitter, Sir John Nelthorpe, 6th Bt. Thence by descent at Scawby Hall, Lincolnshire
Exhibited: Vokins Gallery, Loan Collection of Pictures by George Stubbs and Engravings of his works, 1885, no.11 Grosvenor Gallery, Works of Art illustrative of and connected with Sport, 1890, no.99. Whitechapel Art Gallery, Animals, 1907, no.44. Royal Academy, British Art, 1934, no.336. Tate Gallery, George Stubbs 1724-1806, 1984-1985,no.113
Literature: Sir Gilbey, Life of George Stubbs R.A, London 1898, p167 F. Henthorn, History of Brigg Grammar School, 1959, p.56 B. Taylor, George Stubbs the Horse Painter, London, 1971, p.102 J. Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Painting 1655-1867: The Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven, 1978, pp.28-9 J. Egerton, George Stubbs Painter, Catalogue Raisonne, New Haven and London, 2007, p.382, no181.
George Stubbs ARA (1724 –1806) was an English painter, best known for his paintings of horses. Self-trained, Stubbs learnt his skills independently from other great artists of the 18th century such as Reynolds or Gainsborough. Stubbs’ output includes history paintings, but his greatest skill was in painting animals, perhaps influenced by his love and study of anatomy. His series of paintings on the theme of a lion attacking a horse are early and significant examples of the Romantic movement that emerged in the late 18th century. His painting, Whistlejacket hangs in the National Gallery, London.
Commissioned in 1776, the present exhibit portrays Sir John Nelthorpe, at the age of 31 out shooting with his dogs, Hector and Tinker, in Barton Field. It is reflective of Scawby Hall’s intense association with the artist- being one of a number of his important early works. Sir John’s mother, Elizabeth Woolmer, is considered to have been Stubb’s first commissioning patron. Sir John continued to patronise George Stubbs throughout his life, as his mother had done before him, and subscribed for many etchings and engravings including a copy of Stubbs’ celebrated book of engravings: The Anatomy of the Horse.
On Loan from: Scawby Hall
James Millar (1735-1805)
Portrait Of A Sportsman
Oil on Canvas
James Millar is considered one of Birmingham’s foremost postrait painters of the last quarter of the 18th century and his approach was strongly influenced by the Midlands Enlightenment. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists in London between 1771 and 1790, and examples of his work are held by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Lichfield Guildhall, the Royal Society, the Cowper and Newton Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, London.
On Loan from: Upton House, Tetbury
Thomas Hudson (1701–1779)
Portrait Of William Fitzherbert ( 1748-1791) Later 1st Bt When A Boy
Full-length in a white shirt and a red waistcoat and breeches, holding a cricket bat.
Exhibited: London MCC, The Fine Art of Cricket, 199,7 No 9
Literature: Catalogue of Pictures at Tissington Hall, 1938, No 7
William Fitzherbert, 1st Bt. served as Gentleman Usher to King George III and was rewarded by being created a baronet on March 23rd 1784 and with portraits of the King and Queen. On 14 October 1777 he married Sarah Perrin. His ancestor Sir Richard the 9th Baronet still lives in the family home built in 1609 by Francis FitzHerbert. Sir Richard is an avid cricket fan and a Member of MCC , as is his son and heir Freddie.
It is generally believed that cricket originated as a children’s game in the southeastern counties of England, sometime during the medieval period. According to the social historian Derek Birley, there was a “great upsurge of sport after the Restoration” in 1660 and several members of the court of King Charles II took a strong interest in cricket during that era.
The patrons, and other players from the social class known as the “gentry”, began to classify themselves as “amateurs” to establish a clear distinction from the professionals, who were invariably members of the working class, even to the point of having separate changing and dining facilities. The gentry, including such high-ranking nobles as the Dukes of Richmond, exerted their honour code of noblesse oblige to claim rights of leadership in any sporting contests they took part in, especially as it was necessary for them to play alongside their “social inferiors” if they were to win their bets.
The game underwent major development in the 18th century to become England’s national sport. Its success was underwritten by the twin necessities of patronage and betting. Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and, in the middle years of the century, large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury.
On loan from: From the collection at Tissington Hall
Hugh Robinson (1756-1796)
The Boy With A Kite, a portrait of his nephew, Thomas Teesdale.
Provenance: By direct descent from Thomas Teesdale to his great-great grandson, John Teesdale of Whitminster House.
A contemporary of Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, Hugh Robinson exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1780 and 1782, catching the eye of Sir George Beaumont, who sponsored Hugh to study in Italy.
In 1796, after 10 years in Rome but now suffering from consumption, Hugh started to ride home. He died somewhere in France at the age of only 39 and the ship carrying his entire Italian body of work foundered in a storm.
In 1881 and 1882, his two masterpieces, The Boy with a Kite and The Piping Boy (a portrait of his assistant) were exhibited at an Old Masters’ Exhibition at Burlington House. Contemporary reviews reflect the astonishment that an artist of such outstanding talent should be virtually unknown, The Boy with a Kite being compared favourably to Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, and nicknamed The Green Boy.
In 1972, Professor Sir Ellis Waterhouse, the great expert on 18th century portraiture, had the pictures photographed for the Paul Mellon Centre of which he was Director, and later selected The Boy with a Kite for the major exhibition “English Portraits from Francis Bacon, the Philosopher, to Francis Bacon, the Painter,” sent by the British Council to Tokyo in the autumn of 1975.
In 1986, The Boy with a Kite appeared in a new Phaidon Press book, “The Portrait” by Robin Simon.
In 1998, both paintings were requested by Professor Martin Postle of the Tate Gallery for the English Heritage Exhibition “Angels & Urchins – the Fancy Picture in 18th century Art”. The Boy with a Kite was chosen to publicise the Exhibition on posters, the front cover of the catalogue and the invitation to the Private View.
In January this year, Professor Frédéric Ogée of the Université Paris Cité featured Hugh Robinson in his seminal work ‘Lawrence: Le génie du portrait anglais’.
Had Hugh Robinson returned safely from Italy, along with his paintings, he would have been recognised as one of England’s great portrait painters.
On Loan from: Whitminster House
‘Crooked Man’ Costume, In The Style Of An Elizabethan Wool Merchant
Made by Historical Seamstress Juliet Braidwood, 2022, UK
Costume worn by the Crooked Men, current custodians of The Crooked House, Lavenham.
This bespoke costume is a replica of the clothing worn by the wool merchant owner of The Crooked House during Elizabeth I’s visit to Lavenham in 1578, while on her Royal Progress of East Anglia.
The choice of black wool for the doublet and hose signifies wealth, as black was the most expensive cloth colour at the time. The doublet is lined with orange silk, revealed through fashionable ‘slashing’ on the arms and body.
Handmade using 16th century patterns and techniques by Juliet Braidwood, one of Britain’s leading historical costumiers.
On Loan from: Alex and Oli Khalil-Martin, at The Crooked House, Lavenham
Mars, God Of War, Costume
Circa 1897, In Louis XVI Style
In buff-coloured leather, panelled with white leather, embroidered with gold mountings; brown leather skirt and sleeves, scalloped and embroidered with gold.
Provenance: Made for Sir George Frederick Stanley GCSI GCIE CMG (14 October 1872 – 1 July 1938) and thence by decent at Hodsock Manor.
Hon George Frederick Stanley was a 29 year old single soldier in the British Army and sixth son of the 16th Earl of Derby when he was invited to The Devonshire House Ball hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Held on 2 July 1897 at Devonshire House in Piccadilly to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and all guests were asked to wear fancy dress. George’s costume made him Mars the God of War. Due to the many prominent royals, aristocrats, and society figures who attended as well as the overall lavishness of the ball, it was considered the event of the 1897 London Season.
In 1903 George married Lady Beatrix Taylour, youngest daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Headfort and had one daughter, Barbara. He was Governor of Madras from 1929 to 1934 and as Acting Viceroy of India in 1934. His Aidede-camp Sir Charles Buchanan, the son of Sir Eric Alexander Buchanan, 3rd Baronet and Constance Augusta Tennant married Barbara on 23 February 1932. In living memory George’s costume hs lived in a leather suitcase belonging to Charles Buchanan and after his death in 1984 made it’s way his son Andrew’s home Hodsock Priory in Nottinghamshire.
On Loan from: The descendants of Sir George Frederick Stanley GCSI, GCIE CMG
Army & Navy Table Tennis Set
Table Tennis was originally designed as tennis played on the kitchen table and took off as a Country House parlour game in the late 19th century, This set from the Army & Navy Stores consists of 2 strung rackets, the net with supporting posts and a number of balls which are in two pieces joined together. There is also a set of rules in which the scoring was as in tennis.
The change to bats came about to make timing easier with sound of bat on ball; the ball design was changed to a single piece to make the bounce truer.
Like so many interesting items in Country Houses, I found this set in the attic where it had lain forgotten for many decades.
On Loan from: Alick Hay, Duns Castle, Scotland
The Stag Hunt
British (18th / 19th Century)
Oil on canvas
Provenance: Miss Constance Ormrod and thence by descent to the present owner.
On Loan from: Pen-y-lan Hall
Edwin Douglas Sketches Letter To The Tennant Family
Edwin was born in Edinburgh 1848 , his work was mainly of a sporting and hunting nature, he first exhibited his work at the Royal Scottish Academy at the age of 17.
He attracted many notable patrons including the Tennant family and Queen Victoria, who commissioned pieces for Edward VII’s birthday.
On Loan from: The collection of the Tennant family at Innes House, Moray, Scotland.
A George II English Mahogany Card Table
Provenance: Bought by Sir John Shelley-Sidney c. 1830.
Literature: Illustrated in the ‘Dictionary of English Furniture’ by Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, Vol III, Plate XI, facing page 198.
The table has a ‘concertina’ underframe carved with lion’s masks and acanthus leaves, rosettes, and foliage, and terminating in hair claw feet. The top is fitted with candle stands and guinea wells and covered in a contemporary petit-point needlework depicting the building of a mansion, believed to be that of Penshurst Place with Sir John De Pulteney, Penshurst’s first owner looking on. Other elements in the picture include a windmill and a Ho Ho bird. This bird is a symbol of luck and good fortune, of longevity and wisdom. Japanese in origin, the Ho Ho bird, similar to the phoenix, first appeared in England in the 18th century on Georgian porcelain and furniture.
On Loan from: Viscount De L’Isle CVO MBE, at Penshurst Place and Gardens.
Attributed To Emily De Grey
Thomas De Grey, 6th Baron Walsingham, Game Shooting
Late 19th Century
Watercolour on paper
Game shooting was historically a pastime for the landed gentry. Thomas de Grey, 6th Baron Walsingham, was a renowned shot in the Victorian period. He went for shoots on Blubberhouses Moor, North Yorkshire in the late 19th century. He is most well-known for record day of shooting on 30th August 1888. He killed 1,058 grouse over thirteen hours using three guns. He was assisted by two loaders and 40 beaters. In his most successful drive of the day, he killed 94 grouse in 21 minutes.
This watercolour is likely to have been inspired by another shoot on Blubberhouses Moor, in August 1872. This was Lord Walsingham’s first record breaking shoot, where he killed 846 grouse. The artwork is believed to be by his sister, Emily de Grey. The interlocking initials “E.G.” are visible in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture. Kiplin Hall and Gardens have several artworks by Emily de Grey (later Talbot) in their collection.
Emily de Grey married Alfred Talbot in 1882. Her sister, Beatrice de Grey, married Alfred’s brother Walter Carpenter in 1887. Walter Carpenter had inherited Kiplin Hall in 1868 and one of the conditions of his inheritance was to change his surname from Talbot to Carpenter. Emily and Alfred’s daughter, Bridget Talbot, was the final owner of Kiplin Hall. She brought the collections of her extended family together at Kiplin Hall. Bridget founded a charitable trust to look after the Hall and its collection after she died. Thanks to her actions we can enjoy Kiplin Hall and Gardens today.
On Loan from: Kiplin Hall and Gardens, North Yorkshire
A Lady's Sidesaddle
Late 19th Century
Sidesaddle riding is a form of equestrianism that uses a type of saddle which allows female riders to sit aside rather than astride an equine. Sitting aside dates back to antiquity and developed in European countries in the Middle Ages as a way for women in skirts to ride a horse in a modest fashion while also wearing fine clothing. It has retained a specialty niche even in the modern world.
On loan from: Sir Humphry Wakefield, Bt.
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