“The Baron”, Winner of the Great St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster, 1845
Coloured aquatintpublished 20 October 1845
About the work
The slender body of jockey Frank Butler (died 1856) is seated upon The Baron, a dark chestnut horse. This print commemorates the victory of The Baron (bred and owned by George Watts), which was ridden to victory by Butler at the St. Leger Stakes in Doncaster in 1845. Butler, the nephew of well-known Newmarket-born jockeys and racehorse trainers William and Samuel Chiffney, later died as a direct result of continual efforts to reduce his weight for races.
The Baron was the son of Irish Birdcatcher, a horse with a reputation for speed, which became a much sought-after stallion. The Baron was shipped to England in 1845, where it was trained by John Scott (1794-1871), the most successful trainer in the history of the St. Leger Stakes, having trained 16 winning horses. The Baron later went on to sire a horse known as Stockwell, one of the most successful horses of the 19th century.
About the artist
Charles Hunt I was an aquatint engraver. He is best known for his engravings after the works of sporting artists, although his subjects also included transport, animal and topographical scenes. Although Hunt’s aquatints were generally made after the designs of his contemporaries, he sometimes made prints after his own designs. He was the father of Charles Hunt II, also an aquatint engraver of sporting subjects, and is thought to have been the brother of engraver George Hunt, with whom he collaborated early in his career. J. B. Hunt, who engraved a portrait of the trainer John Scott from a design by Harry Hall, published in the 1850s, may be another relative.
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’.