• Old Masters and 19th Century A auction at Christies

    Sale 7842

    Old Masters and 19th Century Art

    30 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 78

    John Wootton (Snitterfield, Warwicks c. 1682-1764 London)

    The Warren Hill, Newmarket

    Price Realised  


    John Wootton (Snitterfield, Warwicks c. 1682-1764 London)
    The Warren Hill, Newmarket
    signed 'JWootton' ('JW' linked, lower right)
    oil on canvas
    40½ x 49¾ in. (102.9 x 126.4 cm.)

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    Datable to circa 1715, this composition, of which Wootton painted several versions, is one of the most celebrated images of early eighteenth-century racing. Newmarket had, by the late seventeenth- century, established itself as the racing capital of England, and here were trained the racehorses of many of the leading owners in the country.

    Warren Hill lies to the east of Newmarket, and Wootton's view looking north takes in the side of the town with St. Mary's Church, beyond the steeple of which can be glimpsed the King's Stand to the left, and the King's Stables to the right. The outline of Ely Cathedral can just be made out on the far right of the horizon. Arlene Meyer, referring to a prime version of the composition exhibited at Kenwood in 1984, suggests an origin for the wooden structure to the right of the carriage on the hill: 'In the reign of Charles II, whose enthusiasm was largely responsible for the subsequent development of Newmarket as the principal centre for racing, the King's Chair was placed at the summit of the hill so that he could watch the training gallops of the horses. A large portable sedan chair somewhat answering the description of this earlier one is shown in Wootton's painting.'

    It has often been suggested that Tregonwell Frampton, Keeper of the King's Running Horses, is depicted, and he is perhaps most likely to be the lone figure standing in the middle of the scene.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.


    Sir William Joliffe, and by descent.
    with Hall & Knight, London, from whom purchased by the present owners.

    Pre-Lot Text