Jockey Frank Butler (died 1856) is here seated upon The Princess. The Princess was the winner of the Epsom Oaks in 1844, when she was ridden by Frank Butler, trained by John Scott and owned by Colonel George Anson. Following her win at the Oaks, the horse was found to have been in foal. Her foal went on to win the Derby as a three-year-old colt.
This work may have been painted for army officer and owner of The Princess, George Anson (1797-1857), who was promoted to the position of colonel in 1838. He went on to become a major-general in 1851 and Chairman of the London and North Western Railway Company in 1852. In 1853 Anson was appointed to command a division in Bengal. He was made Commander of the Madras Army in the following year and commander-in-chief in India in 1856. When the Indian mutiny began in 1857, he collected a force and marched against Delhi. However, he died that year after contracting cholera at Karnal.
Harry Hall was born in Cambridge, probably in 1813, and worked principally at Epsom and Newmarket. He may have studied under the painter Abraham Cooper (1787-1868), and is known for his portraits of racehorses, jockeys and racing personalities, although he also produced paintings on the themes of hunting and shooting. From 1838 to 1863, Hall exhibited his works at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and the Society of British Artists at Suffolk Street. Many of his works were engraved and published in ‘Sporting Magazine’. Hall died in 1882 in Newmarket. His son, Sydney Prior Hall (1842-1922), became a portrait painter and artist to the illustrated newspaper ‘The Graphic’.
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