Named Louth when he won for Mr Fortescue at the Curragh in 1758, Ireland was presumably renamed for this match, with the horses' names reflecting what would have been a form of international event - this may also explain the match's unusually high stake of 2,000 guineas. Foaled in 1754, Ireland was said to have belonged to Mr Maxwell at the time of this match, which was run during the Newmarket Spring meeting of 1759. England was by Oroonoko and is depicted in the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater's colours of Garter Blue.
Thomas Butler was principally a businessman, advertising that he and his assistants would paint 'Horses, dogs, living and dead game, views of hunting etc., in order to compose sporting pieces for curious furniture in a more elegant and newer taste than has been yet'. It is not known for certain who worked in Butler's studio but, stylistically, it seems possible that this picture is by Francis Sartorius (1734-1804).