An interesting pair of 19th Century Victorian brass fire-side ornaments representing a horse & jockey racing.
English, Circa 1880.
Dating from the late 19th Century these ornaments were designed to stand upright to decorate either side of a mantelpiece or hearth.
The very distinctive pose of the stooping jockey, riding with long stirrups at full-tilt almost certainly identifies this subject as being Fred Archer (1857–1886). Archer was the most celebrated jockey of the Victorian era, winning numerous Classic races – including the Epsom Derby, which he won five times (in 1877, 1880, 1881, 1885 and 1886). Indeed, these brasses may represent one of his Derby wins – possibly that on board “Bend Or”, the 2-1 favourite and winner of the 1880 race (which secured Fred Archer’s fame), or "Iroquois", the 1881 winner (the first American-bred winner of the Epsom Derby and which made Archer a worldwide celebrity). It is interesting to note the horse depicted as racing from right to left which is the view the multitude of racegoers had when watching events from the center of the Epsom racetrack. It is hard now to convey the popularity of horseracing to the Victorian public but in the 19th Century the Epsom Derby Day crowd regularly numbered several hundred thousand and was undoubtedly the major sporting and social event of the year when fortunes were won or lost.
Archer died by his own hand under tragic circumstances at the age of just 29 and was deeply mourned by the public.
Marks: Unmarked – no foundry or makers mark.
Condition: Good Condition. Both are still have much of their original detail and have not been overpolished.
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