18thC Mezzotint of the Racehorse “Tantrum the property of Mr. Blake”

18thC Mezzotint of the Racehorse “Tantrum the property of Mr. Blake”

Code: 10977


H: 31.2cm (12.3")W: 42.3cm (16.7")


Portrait of the Bay Colt "Tantrum"
Published 1788 by Robert Sayer (1725-1794)
possibly after Francis Sartorius Sr. (1734-1804)
Mezzotint with gouache/bodycolour hand-colouring
Framed & glazed

31.2 cm x 42.3 cm (framed)

A very scarce mezzotint portrait of the racehorse 'Tantrum' standing within a landscape in profile facing right, being held by a groom standing at his head, a stable or rubbing-house building to the left with a jockey approaching carrying a saddle and a whip. Lettered beneath the image with the title "TANTRUM the property of MR.BLAKE." The publication line "Published, 1788, by Robt. Sayer, No.53, Fleet Street, London" just visible beneath the edge of frame. The print's original sequence number '262' nearly rubbed out lower left. Although the artist of the original picture is uncredited within Sayer's publication details here, the image is possibly after an original painting by Francis Sartorius the Elder (1734-1804). 

The bay colt 'Tantrum' is considered one of the early 'foundation sires' of the modern thoroughbred racehorse (those  18th Century stallions who became very influential at stud). He was foaled in 1760, probably bred by Lord Rockingham, sired by 'Cripple' (a son of the 'Godolphin Arabian') out of a dam, a mare by 'Hampton Court Childers' (in turn a daughter of a mare by 'Whitefoot' out of a mare by 'Stanton's Arabian out of the 'Moonah Bard Mare')). He was first raced as a horse at Epsom in May 1768 where he won a £50 race. He won the Doncaster Gold Cup in 1769 and was subsequently sold to the prominent racehorse owner Mr Christopher Blake. At the Second Newmarket Spring Meeting of 1770 he won a 300 guinea race.

'Tantrum' went to stud with Lord Rockingham and an  advertisement for him described his as a "strong, beautiful made horse...His gay and airy form of going surpassed most others." He sired a number of well thought of racehorses including the mare 'Termagant' (dam of the 1789 St. Leger winner 'Pewett') and 'Evelina' (dam of 1802 St. Leger winner 'Orville'). One of his sons 'Sampson' was exported to the U.S.A. and became influential in bloodlines there.

Extremely scarce. Not in BM; Yale etc.

An attractive, if distressed, copy of this rare print. Early gouache/bodycolour hand-colouring. Fritting and loss to the extremities. Evidence of wormholing, signs of discolouration, staining and watermarking. But, overall, a highly presentable image with a great deal of charm and character. Contained within a distressed antique Hogarth style frame.