Depicting some of the most famous horses in the history of British racing, the 20 works make up the core of a private collection initially begun in 1849 by John Dunn Gardner (1811 1903) of Denston Hall, Suffolk and later added to by his son Algernon Dunn Gardner (1853 1929) 

 Jonathan Law, Partner, Cheffins comments: “The sale of this collection presents an increasingly rare opportunity to acquire fine sporting art long held in private hands of some of the most important and influential horses in the history of racing. In offering these works we hope to draw interest from buyers around the globe as the collection features works by leading artists of the genre from both the 18th and 19th century.”

A highlight of the sale is the portrait of the stallion The Bloody Shouldered Arabian by John Wootton (1682 1764), which has an estimate of £30,000-50,000. The colt, brought from Aleppo to England between 1719 and 1720 was acquired by Edward Harley (1689 1741), where he was stabled at Welbeck Abbey and soon became one of most coveted sires of the period. 

The sale will also include a small double portrait of Eclipse and Bucephalus by John Nost Sartorious (1759 1828), estimate £4,000-6,000. Eclipse considered the greatest racehorse of all time was the great, great grandson of The Darley Arabian, one of three dominant foundation sires of modern thoroughbred bloodstock.  As a racehorse, Eclipse was an undisputed champion winning all of the 18 races he was entered in. In 1771 after a racing career of just 17 months, Eclipse was retired to stud due to a lack of competition which lead to no one betting on rival horses. A sought-after stallion, Eclipse appears today in the pedigree of most modern thoroughbreds.

Included in the collection are further works by Wootton of A Bay racehorse being rubbed down at Newmarket as well as A Chestnut racehorse held by his jockey at Newmarket carrying estimates of £40,000 - £60,000 and £70,000 - £100,000 respectively.

In addition to equestrian portraiture is an important panoramic view by the Anglo Flemish sporting and topographical artist Peter Tillemans (1684-1734) depicting George I on Newmarket Heath and records the monarch’s only visit to the town in 1717, estimate £40,000 - 60,000. Believed to have been commissioned by The Hon. Charles Colyear, later 2nd Earl of Portmore (1700-1785), Colyear can be identified in the painting riding alongside the King in a red coat while Flying Childers led by a groom in yellow is presented to the King for his inspection. The town of Newmarket features in the distance beyond the royal party.

Additional highlights of the collection include a picture of Babraham by Thomas Spencer, a painting of Waxy by Francis Sartorious; Matchem by William Shaw and Smolensko by John Nost Sartorious.


Auction: The Autumn Sale, 1st October 2020  
Location: Cheffins, Clifton House, 1-2 Clifton Road, Cambridge, UK, CB1 7EA

For further information contact the Fine Art Department on 01223 213343,