Newbury Racecourse is accustomed to staging major events - but on April 15, it will welcome a very special exhibition of some of the greatest competitors in the sport it is intimately associated with. In partnership with British auctioneer Dreweatts, the venue will display highlights from the Norman R Bobins Collection of British Sporting Prints - which includes many of the best horses in history.
The prints, collected over a period of 25 years by Bobins, cover a wide range of traditional British sports, but has a particularly comprehensive range of illustrations covering 'The Sport of Kings' - horse racing.
Dreweatts will, for the first time in its history, be sponsoring a race at Newbury on the day of the exhibition, before conducting a sale of 175 lots at Donnington Priory on April 20. It is the first time that such a complete collection of racing prints has come to the market, making this a rare treat for sport enthusiasts and art investors.
The collection covers all the major racecourses in Britain, including Epsom, Goodwood and Ascot, as well as some of the most well-known thoroughbreds in the sport.
A set of four prints, created by John Frederick Herring, showing 'composites' of the most notable horses and riders to compete between 1845 and 1853 is expected to realise £4,000-6,000. A pair of 1842 portraits by Francis Calcraft Turner depicting the Godolphin Arabian, Scham, and the Darley Arabian, Roxana, have a high estimate of £1,500.
Others stand-outs include the first ever steeple chase - conducted at night as a result of an after dinner challenge between officers of the 3rd Dragoons - and a famous 1000 guinea bet that George Osbaldeston couldn't cover 200 miles in 10 hours, a bet he won.
The collection also includes other sports, such as shooting, boxing, cricket and golf. A highlight of the latter is a 1790 mezzotint by Francis Abbott, showing a haughty golfer and his caddie; dedicated to the oldest golf club in the world - the Society of Golfers of Blackheath - this incredibly rare piece has a high estimate of £8,000.
This exhibition and sale is a unique event, and will undoubtedly attract many sports enthusiasts and art collectors. We recommend you bolt down to Newbury early on April 15, as it is likely to be very popular.
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