This statuette shows The Flying Dutchman, one of the most famous racehorses of the Victorian era. Beneath the horse is a list of some of his most famous victories, including the Epsom Derby (1849), the St Leger Stakes (1850) and the Emperor of Russia’s Plate (1850).
The Flying Dutchman was owned by the 13th Earl of Eglinton. By the age of two, the horse remained undefeated. However, in 1850 he met Voltigeur for the first time at the Doncaster Cup. Voltigeur had won the St Leger Stakes just two days before and was not expected to be on top form. The Flying Dutchman was to be sold to a stud company after one final triumph but, to the surprise of the racing community, the younger horse passed the finish line first. It was later reported: ‘the spectacle presented by Lord Eglinton as, pale with emotion, he leant against the wall of the Jockey Club Stand, has not faded from the memory of those who sympathetically looked on.’ A rematch was held to salvage horse’s reputation and, on 13 May 1851, The Flying Dutchman and Voltigeur met again at York. This time The Dutchman won and, having restored his reputation, was retired to stud at Rawcliffe Paddocks in Yorkshire. In 1859 he was sold to Napoleon III’s stud farm in France.
French sculptor Pierre Lenordez was born at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, in north-western France. He specialised in statuettes of people and animals, particularly horses, and produced several designs for Duplan et Salles, a Parisian foundry. Lenordez exhibited at the Salon in Paris from 1855 to 1877 and depicted numerous winners of major horse races. Arab stallions, mares and foals also dominated his works. For many of Lenordez’s statuettes, the sculptor fashioned a folded blanket or towel on the ground, upon which the horses name and other data was inscribed. Today, a plaster work by the artist, titled ‘Captain d’Estouteville leaving for the Defence of Mont St-Michel’ is in the museum of Avranches, northwestern France.
Inscribed on base, below horse: The Flying Dutchman / born in 1846 (Bay middleton & / Barbella mother of van Cromp) / Winner of the Epsom Derby in 1849, / the S.t Leger in 1850: of the cup, / given by the Emperor of Russia / in 1851, and beating Voltigeur for / the 1000 Sovereigns Stakes.; inscribed on base, behind horse: Duplan et Salles
With Gerald Kerin; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1954
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