Ben Marshall (Seagrave 1768-1835 London)
Ben Marshall (Seagrave 1768-1835 London)

'Mameluke', a bay racehorse, with Will Wheatley up, attended by a groom, Newmarket Heath beyond

Details
Ben Marshall (Seagrave 1768-1835 London)
'Mameluke', a bay racehorse, with Will Wheatley up, attended by a groom, Newmarket Heath beyond
inscribed, signed and dated 'MAMELUKE / B. Marshall 1828' (lower centre)
oil on canvas
27 x 35 in. (68.5 cm x 89 cm.)
in a carved and gilded English Maratta frame
Provenance
Anonymous sale [The Property of Gentleman]; Christie's, London, 8 June 1995, lot 54.
Literature
Sir O. Millar (ed.), British Sporting Painting 1650-1850, The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1974, p. 86, no. 131.
A. Noakes, Ben Marshall 1768-1835, Leighton-on-Sea, 1978, p. 52, under no. 188.
Exhibited
Leicester, Leicester Art Gallery, Bicentenary Exhibition, 1967, no. 17.
London, Hayward Gallery; Leicester, Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery; and Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, British Sporting Painting 1650-1850, The Arts Council of Great Britain, 13 December 1974 – 25 May 1975, no. 131.

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Lot Essay

Mameluke was a bay thoroughbred, foaled in 1824 by Partisan, one of the leading stallions of the time, out of Miss Sophia. Bred by Mr Robert Cary Elwes of Billing Hall, Northamptonshire, Mameluke was bought as a yearling by George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey (1773-1859), a keen huntsman and owner of horses. Other than Mameluke, the Earl of Jersey’s other significant success was with Bay Middleton who won the Epsom Derby in 1836. He proved to be one of the best colts of his generation in 1827 when he won the Derby beating his stable mate Glenartney.

Following the Derby, Mameluke was sold for 4,000 guineas to John Gully of Ackworth Park, near Pontefract, a former prize-fighter, a highly-successful bookmaker, and later M.P. for Pontefract, for whom he achieved second place in the St. Leger later in the same year. In 1828, when the present painting was made, Mameluke appeared at the Craven meeting at Newmarket in April where he won the Oatlands Handicap and the Port Stakes. The racecourse at Newmarket, one of the most important in racing, can be seen in the background of this picture. In a career that lasted from April 1827 to October 1829, Mameluke ran thirteen times and won seven races. In 1829 he was sold to Mr Theobald who transferred him to his stud in Stockwell.

The jockey, Will Wheatley (1786-1848), was ‘one of the best jockeys in England’ (Sporting Magazine, 1831, p. 37), and was principally employed by Lord Lowther. However, Wheatley rode Mameluke in some of his best races, particularly the Ascot Gold Cup when he rode Mameluke against Zinganee, ridden by his rival Sam Chifney, Jun.

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