4 June 2003
NEWDEGATE, C.N. Sketches from the Washington Races in October 1840 by an Eye Witness. [London?: circa 1840?].
2° (433 x 305mm). Without title or text (as published). 3 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates by and after Newdegate. Unbound as issued in original oatmeal paper wrappers, lithographic title on upper cover. Modern black cloth box.
A FINE COPY OF THIS RARE COLOUR-PLATE WORK, describing in three plates, with explanatory rhymed quatrains beneath, the course of a race, with black jockeys, run at Washington race course, Charleston, South Carolina in October 1840. The grey mare wins by a large margin, having been pushed all the way to the winning post by her jockey.
The mention of 'western clime' allied with the first line of the verse on the upper cover ('British Steeds that you're fastest I've not a doubt') both suggest that the present series was published in Britain. If this is the case then London seems the most likely city of origin for this excellent series. The Washington Race Course was established in 1735 and until its sale in 1900 was the oldest race track in the world. The South Carolina Jockey Club Spring and Fall race meetings here were one of the highlights of the Charleston season. The first day's races were run in four, the second in three and the third in two-mile heats. On the disbanding of the South Carolina Jockey Club, the piers from the entrance of Washington Race Course were given to Belmont Park, New York, where they still stand today. Unrecorded. Not in any of the standard bibliographies.
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