• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1984

    19th Century European Art

    8 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 26

    John Frederick Herring, Jun. (British, 1815-1907)

    The Watering Place

    Price Realised  


    John Frederick Herring, Jun. (British, 1815-1907)
    The Watering Place
    signed 'JF Herring' (center right)
    oil on canvas
    22 x 36 in. (55.9 x 91.4 cm.)

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    Pre-Lot Text


    The Sporting Art collection of the Los Angeles Turf Club, Inc. is an exciting and eclectic group of works comprising 20 paintings by leading artists such as John Frederick Herring, Benjamin Marshall, John Nost Sartorius, Giuseppe Gabani and the Alken family. The Los Angeles Turf Club is located at the beautiful Santa Anita Park which is one of the leading thoroughbred horse racing venues in North America.

    Led by Dr. Charles H. Strub, the Los Angeles Turf Club was formed and Santa Anita opened for winter thoroughbred racing on Christmas Day in 1934. In February of 1935, the first Santa Anita Handicap was run. Since 1969 Oak Tree Racing Association has also conducted a fall meet. The track is home of numerous prestigious races including both the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap. The Los Angeles Turf Club pioneered large purses and offered the first $100,000 handicap in the nation, the first $100,000 Derby, the first $100,000 race exclusively for four-year-olds and the first $100,000 grass course classic.

    Santa Anita has a proud history that includes some of the legends of 20th Century American racing history. Seabiscuit would emerge as Santa Anita's early icon with his rise from humble beginnings to become the fans' favorite. Third choice in the 1937 Big 'Cap, Seabiscuit lost by a nose to the favorite Rosemont before winning the closing-day San Juan Capistrano by seven lengths. He won seven major races in the East before returning to Santa Anita in 1938. He was already proclaimed the nation's handicap champion, but conceding 30 pounds to Stagehand, he again lost the Santa Anita Handicap by a nose. Following a ligament problem in 1938, Seabiscuit returned triumphantly in 1940 to win that year's Santa Anita Handicap. He won against Kayak II, the defending champion and it was to be Seabiscuit's last race.

    During the post-war years, the great horses included California-bred On Trust, racing's first millionaire, Citation, as well as Noor. In 1952, Hill Gail became the first Santa Anita Derby champion to win the Kentucky Derby. The accomplishment was duplicated by Determine two years later. This was followed by Swaps, who won the 1955 Santa Anita Derby before beating Nashua in Kentucky. In 1959 Silver Spoon became the second female to win the Santa Anita Derby. Lucky Debonair in 1965-66 became the first horse to win the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap.

    Affirmed set off on his sweep of the Triple Crown races after winning the 1978 Santa Anita Derby. He returned one year later to capture the Strub Stakes and set a track record of 1:58 1/5 in winning the 42nd Santa Anita Handicap. Other stars included Spectacular Bid who won the Malibu, San Fernando, Strub and Santa Anita Handicaps in 1980 when he had an unbeaten Horse of the Year season. Another Horse of the Year in 1981 and 1984, John Henry won 11 successive stakes at the track between November 1979 and March 1982. The success continued with A.P. Indy winning the Santa Anita Derby before winning the Belmont, Breeders' Cup Classic and Horse of the Year honors in 1992. Like Seabiscuit, another horse that captured the hearts of racing fans was Larry the Legend. Purchased by Craig Lewis for $2,500 at a bankruptcy sale, he won the Santa Catalina and San Rafael Stakes before dislodging previously unbeaten Afternoon Deelites in the 1995 Santa Anita Derby. More recently in 2003-4, Southern Image became the first horse to win two $1 million races at Santa Anita's winter/spring meet.

    Santa Anita is situated approximately 14 miles northeast of Los Angeles and occupies approximately 320 acres and its landmark art-deco style 1,100-foot-long Grandstand has a spectacular view across the racecourse to the San Gabriel mountains. It also features a one-mile oval dirt track and a 7/8-mile turf course. In addition there are 61 barns, capable of housing more than 2,000 horses and a complete equine hospital. The Breeders' Cup World Championships were held here in 1986, 1993 and 2003 and will again return here this year.

    The works will be offered in these additional sales:
    Interiors, 2 April, New York
    Old Master Pictures Sale, 15 April, New York

    Fig. 1 A statue of Seabiscuit at the Santa Anita racecourse.



    Pasadena, The Pasadena Art Museum, English Sporting Art, November 11 - December 11, 1955.
    Fullerton, California, The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, The Equestrian in Art, September 7 - 30, 1984.