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    Sale 1986

    Important Old Master Paintings Part I And Part II

    15 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 219

    Henry Stull Hamilton Ontario 1851-1913 New York

    Iroquois, with Fred Archer up, winner of the Epsom Derby, St. Leger and Prince of Wales Stakes, 1881

    Price Realised  


    Henry Stull Hamilton Ontario 1851-1913 New York
    Iroquois, with Fred Archer up, winner of the Epsom Derby, St. Leger and Prince of Wales Stakes, 1881
    signed 'Henry Stull' (lower right) and inscribed 'from the artist/to his friend/Jas F. J. Archibald/San Francisco/May 1/95' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    23¼ x 28¼ in. 59.1 x 71.8 cm

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    Iroquois (1878-1899), was the first American-bred Thoroughbred race horse to win the Epsom Derby and he later went on to win the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster.

    Out of the great stallion Leamington, he was bred in Pennsylvania by the millionaire stockman, Aristides Welch (the man the winner of the first Kentucky Derby was named for: Aristides). His dam was the great mare Maggie B B, by Australian. Aside from Iroquois, she gave birth to Harold, a full brother to Iroquois, who won the 1879 Preakness Stakes, and Panique, winner of the 1884 Belmont Stakes. Her sire, Australian (who founded the Fair Play sire line), was by West Australian, the first winner of the British Triple Crown.

    Another millionaire, Pierre Lorillard IV of the tobacco and snuff family fame, was so enamored of Leamington's stock that in 1879 he bought every Leamington yearling the breeder Aristides Welch had on offer. One of the yearlings he brought home to his Rancocas Stable in Jobstown, New Jersey was Iroquois.

    Once before, in 1878, Pierre Lorillard had sent a number of yearlings to England in the hopes of an American horse winning an important English race. The first group included Duke of Magenta and Parole. Due to Parole's sensational wins, in 1880 he sent a second group that included Iroquois. In England, Lorillard's horses were trained by Jacob Pincus at Newmarket. Pincus was an American who trained for Lorillard and was sent to England with the second wave of Lorillard's horses.

    Even though Iroquois never stood higher than 15 hands two and a half inches, he won four of his two-year-old races on British soil. In his first race as a three-year-old, Iroquois placed in the 2000 Guineas. Watching the race was England's legendary jockey, Fred Archer (called 'The Tin Man'), and he asked for the mount in the Epsom Derby even though he was contracted to ride the horses of Lord Falmouth. Lord Falmouth graciously allowed Archer to ride the American horse. Iroquois and Archer (in the cherry and black colors of Lorillard) beat the favorite, Peregrine, by a neck on June 1, 1881. (Peregrine had previously won the Two Thousand Guineas.) As a two-year-old, Iroquois also won the Chesterfield and Lavant Stakes. Archer retained the mount on Iroquois for the St. Leger on September 14, 1881. They won against a field of fourteen. Iroquois' victory made him a byword in the United States and there was an immediate rise in American racetrack attendance.

    Iroquois raced seven times as a three-year-old, winning five of these starts including the St. James's Palace, Prince of Wales and Newmarket Stakes. When he was four he became a 'bleeder', meaning that he bled from his nose during the race. He also became difficult to train, probably because of this, so he did not run and Lorillard sent him back to the United States in July of 1883. He returned to the UK once more as a five-year-old and won the Stockbridge Cup, was placed in the Hardwicke Stakes and came in third in the Monmouth Stakes. He was then returned to the United States where he did had a minor racing career and was put to stud.

    Pierre Lorillard at this time was heavily consumed by business priorities and consequently sold many of his horses. The horses were auctioned at Lorillard's Rancocas Stud in New Jersey. General William Harding Jackson, master of Belle Meade Stud near Nashville, Tennessee purchased Iroquois for $20,000. Iroquois led the American sire list in 1892. His best runners included Tammany, winner of the Lawrence Realization; White Frost, winner of the Kentucky Oaks; and Huron, second to Azra in the 1892 Kentucky Derby. Iroquois died on September 17, 1899 at the age of 21 from a kidney ailment and was buried in his paddock at Belle Meade.

    Stull was born in Canada and had close exposure as a child to horses because his father was the driver of a horse-drawn hack. Stull could have succeeded him, but instead went to New York City in 1873, hoping to be an actor. However, he shortly took a job with an insurance company and found his true passion at the racetracks where he practised his considerable innate artistic talent.

    Hoping to become an illustrator, Stull did a portfolio of sketches that he submitted to Frank Leslie, owner and editor of Leslie's Weekly. Leslie hired him to do caricatures, cartoons and lampoons, a job he held for three years. Meanwhile, he attended horse races, and while watching one at Jerome Park in the Bronx, he sketched Fiddlesticks, a horse owned by August Belmont. Copying the sketch to more high-quality paper, he submitted it to the editor of Sporting New Yorker, who published it. Belmont saw the image of his horse, and used his influence to get Stull an illustration job with Spirit of the Times, a horse and sporting magazine, which in turn, attracted the attention of the editor of Harper's Weekly. With the title Race Horse Portraits at Monmouth Park, Stull's horse paintings were first published in Harper's on August 18, 1883.

    Meanwhile, he began the study of horse anatomy at a veterinary college. With his flattering horse portraits, highly accurate in musculature, he also attracted the attention of other wealthy, powerful horse owners, who became his patrons and clients including William Whitney, Pierre Lorillard, Leonard Jerome, and several men who owned Kentucky Derby winners -- -H.K. Knapp (Yankee Notions, 1913) and John Madden (Plaudit, 1898). Another client was Samuel Riddle, owner of Man o' War.

    Stull painted the portraits in his studio in New York City based on drawings of the horses in their natural settings which he undertook from many visits to Kentucky. From 1879 to 1912, Stull painted racehorse portraits each year. At one time, each of the New York and Brooklyn jockey clubs had between five and fifty of his paintings. Stull not only painted horses but he bet on them and also owned one, Brad Law, whose portrait he painted in 1902.

    Primarily renowned for his distinctive images of racehorses, Henry Stull was, along with Edward Troye, one of the most prominent equestrian artists in 19th century America. His works can be found in many important collections such as the New York Jockey Club, the National Museum of Racing Hall Fame, and the Kentucky Derby Museum. He was a member of the Coney Island Jockey Club.


    A gift from the artist to James A. Archibald, San Francisco, 1895.

    Pre-Lot Text