Today’s feature is Leaves From A Hunting Journal by Georgina Bowers.  Published in 1880, this compilation book is filled with humorous cartoons about the foxhunting field.

Leaves From A Hunting Journal, London: Chatto & Windus, 1880.
Leaves From A Hunting Journal, London: Chatto & Windus, 1880. This volume is bound in papered boards that show the wear of age.

Georgina Bowers (1835-1912) was a cartoonist, caricaturist, and illustrator whose works were published beginning in the 1860s. Bowers rose to prominence as an illustrator for the humorous British magazine Punch. In 1871, she married Henry Edwards, a horse surgeon.

"A Pleasant Way," and "An Uncomfortable Way," from Leaves From A Hunting Journal.
“A Pleasant Way,” and “An Uncomfortable Way,” from Leaves From A Hunting Journal.

Bowers was an avid hunter, and claimed that most of her humorous material was drawn from her observations on horseback as she rode to hounds.

“Still waters run deep - a lesson best learned by experience,” from Leaves From A Hunting Journal.
“Still waters run deep – a lesson best learned by experience,” from Leaves From A Hunting Journal.

Many of the stand-alone books she compiled later in her career deal with hunting and riding, and NSLM holds five different titles by Bowers in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.

“Bad excuses better than none - A lost shoe is a favorite one with old Kopperas, who is always left behind,” from Leaves From A Hunting Journal.
“Bad excuses better than none – A lost shoe is a favorite one with old Kopperas, who is always left behind,” from Leaves From A Hunting Journal.

This is one of over 100 books available to purchase through the NSLM Annual Auction. The Annual Auction, composed of duplicates from the Library collections, will continue until November 8. This year’s Auction includes some lovely sporting art and is perfect for holiday shopping; contact John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian for more information.

Today we have five great artists to highlight, as they’re all connected in one way: they each have works available for purchase through this year’s NSLM Annual Auction. The Auction is an annual fundraiser for NSLM, and proceeds go to the support of our collections. Thanks to a generous donor, this year’s Auction has some significant selections from great artists, and they make perfect holiday gifts for the sporting enthusiasts in your life! The Auction continues to November 8, so be sure to contact us soon to get involved.

Frank W. Benson

The Alarm” 1917, by Frank W. Benson. Etching on paper.

Frank W. Benson (1862-1951) was a fantastic sporting artist and American impressionist from Massachusetts. He is credited as the founder of the school of the American sporting print and one of the most accomplished artists to work within that genre. Benson studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and in 1883 the Académie Julien in Paris. He produced oil and watercolor paintings as well as etchings of wildfowl. The influence of impressionism on his work is often apparent in his sporting etchings.

William Schaldach

Pheasant,” by William Schaldach. Etching on paper.

Born in Elkhart, Indiana, William J. Schaldach (1896-1982) was an avid angler and wildfowl hunter from a very young age. In his 20s, Schaldach moved to New York to study art. He established himself as a talented watercolorist, but he continued to take lessons for years, learning etching and drypoint. By the 1930s he was a regular contributor to magazines such as Field and StreamAmerican Forests, and Outdoor Life. He wrote and edited several books on art, including a 1945 biography of sporting artist Carl Rungius.

Roland Clark

The Last Round” 1928, by Roland Clark. Etching on paper.

Roland Clark (1874-1957) was known primarily for his etchings of game birds, and he gained great familiarity with those species through a life of waterfowl hunting. Though waterfowl hunting around was his great passion, Clark was also an enthusiastic angler, rider, and sailor. His work draws mainly on sketches from life in the field, and collections of his many etchings were used in his books recounting his experiences hunting.

Aiden Lassell Ripley

Grouse Shooting” 1937, by Aiden Lassell Ripley. Etching on paper.

Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969) was born in Boston; his father was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Though Ripley showed promise as a musician (playing piano and tuba), he chose art instead. He joined the army during World War I, and after his discharge he studied with Frank Benson at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to specialize in landscapes. Ripley adapted his art to incorporate sporting scenes during the Great Depression, as sales of sporting art remained relatively strong throughout the period. The adaptation stayed with him, and Ripley continued to portray game birds and sporting scenes throughout his career.

Robin Hill

Baltimore Oriole” 1974, by Robin Hill. Lithograph on Paper.

Robin Hill (b. 1932) was born in Australia before his family moved to England. Throughout his childhood, Hill spent many hours outdoors finding freedom from the restrictions of school. He trained in art at Wimbledon School of Art and the National Gallery of Art School, as well as the Royal Melbourne College. His love of nature and passion for the outdoors led him to focus exclusively on painting and writing about natural history. That passion is reflected in his meticulous attention to detail in his portrayal of wildfowl. Although Hill is best known for his paintings of birds, he has also expanded his repertoire to include paintings of dogs, farm animals, and other wildlife. He continues to produce wonderful artwork from his studio in Washington, D.C.


Works by all five of these artists are available for purchase through the NSLM Annual Auction. The Annual Auction, composed of duplicates from the Library collections, will continue until November 8. Contact John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian for more information.

Ada Gates Patton is one of the most recognizable farriers of our day. She shoed racehorses across the United States for decades with an infectious passion. With her tenacity and genuine love for the inelegant life of a farrier, it’s easy to imagine her childhood taking place in the wild plains and dramatic mountains of the West, with a blacksmith’s apron and a pocket full of nails. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Ada, first woman farrier

Ada Gates was born into New York high society, a descendant of industrial businessman Henry Burden, who–coincidentally enough–created the first iron works to mass produce horseshoes. With a family tree that features Fricks and Vanderbilts, Ada’s early life included riding at her family’s estate and at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, VA. She was also a debutante, model and actress who enjoyed the finest things in life.

Ada Gates Patton modelling in the early 1960's
Ada  modelling in the early 1960’s
Jumping in Spain
Jumping in Spain

In the early 1970’s, a roadtrip gone awry left Ada in Colorado, where she first took to shoeing out of necessity rather than choice.  She was the only female in her Oklahoma horseshoeing school, and the first woman ever to be licensed as a farrier in the United States in 1978 and first female member of the International Union of Journeyman Horseshoers.

anvil

Despite, and maybe because of the opposition she encountered in a male-dominated field, Ada’s love for her craft only grew. She was an equestrian liaison for the 1984 Olympic games, she was honored with the American Farriers’ Association’s Edward Martin Humanitarian Award in 2008, and has recently been inducted into the American Farriers Hall of Fame.

 

Ada has also been featured in Time and People magazines, and on What’s My Line and Late Night with David Letterman. Today she owns and operates Harry Patton Horseshoeing Supplies, which was founded by her late husband. She also serves as an equestrian supervisor to the hundreds of horses who march in the Rose Parade.

 Ada is visiting NSLM on Thursday, October 29th from 6:00-8:00pm

To save your seat, contact Anne Marie Barnes, Educational Programs Manager ABarnes@NationalSporting.org
(540) 687-6542 x25

In 1857, compelled by a perceived lack of literature on the subject, Mrs. J. Stirling Clarke authored The Ladies’ Equestrian Guide as a succinct manual to riding for women. The book is thoroughly a product of its time, and focuses on the proprieties of Victorian horsemanship. Nevertheless, the work is an insight into the practical challenges that faced female riders in the middle of the 19th Century.

"Amongst the most exquisite productions of ancient taste, and art, is a gem, engraved with Cupid ridin on a lion, illustrating the power and majesty of love in subjecting the fiercest to his control. Charming as is the emblem, and beautiful the design, which has been admired through the ages, it may yet be questioned, whether a graceful woman managing a noble steed does not present a finer picture of power over-ruled by gentleness."
“Amongst the most exquisite productions of ancient taste, and art, is a gem, engraved with Cupid riding on a lion, illustrating the power and majesty of love in subjecting the fiercest to his control. Charming as is the emblem, and beautiful the design, which has been admired through the ages, it may yet be questioned, whether a graceful woman managing a noble steed does not present a finer picture of power over-ruled by gentleness.”

If the you can look beyond the florid reflections peculiar to the literature of that era, you’ll find many solid pointers on riding in the text. Mrs. Clarke finds riding to be excellent exercise and of great value to promote health and provide leisure. Much practical advice is given to the reader on the manner of dress, selection of horse, saddle, bridle, seat, and much more.

"Frequently in the desire of bringing back the hands to their proper position, the elbows are shifted to the right, the right one being forced outward, and the shoulder on the same side unduly elevated, imparting the most awkward and -- a short distance off -- even deformed appearance of the rider."
“Frequently in the desire of bringing back the hands to their proper position, the elbows are shifted to the right, the right one being forced outward, and the shoulder on the same side unduly elevated, imparting the most awkward and — a short distance off — even deformed appearance of the rider. (Illustration C)”

The latter stages of the book offer a fascinating development: instructions on galloping, leaping, and advice for women to join the hunting field. In 1857, women were more regularly found riding to hounds (although not always accepted in the sport); although Mrs. Clarke doesn’t embrace jumping with enthusiasm, it is mainly due to its dangers than to a philosophy about femininity. Mrs. Clarke is very practical in her approach, stressing best practices that promote safe sport.

"Upon the principle of practicing what one preaches, I have always felt a delicacy in giving my own opinion on the question of ladies hunting; for having, in my younger days, indulged much in the sport (of which I was enthusiastically fond), to dissuade ladies from engaging in it, except in particular instances, is a counsel which may be little attended to from lips of mine."

“Upon the principle of practicing what one preaches, I have always felt a delicacy in giving my own opinion on the question of ladies hunting; for having, in my younger days, indulged much in the sport (of which I was enthusiastically fond), to dissuade ladies from engaging in it, except in particular instances, is a counsel which may be little attended to from lips of mine.”

This is one of over 100 books available to purchase through the NSLM Annual Auction. The Annual Auction, composed of duplicates from the Library collections, will continue until November 8. This year’s Auction includes some lovely sporting art and is perfect for holiday shopping; contact John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian for more information.

The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) recently completed a unique preservation project in partnership with Sweet Briar College. Through the generous support of NSLM board member Helen K. Groves, both NSLM and Sweet Briar collaborated to digitally preserve film reels created and spliced by Captain Vladimir S. Littauer.

The films, donated to NSLM for digitization by Littauer’s son, Andrew, depict horse shows and dressage, as well as clips of the U. S. Equestrian Team training ahead of the 1948 Olympics.

United States Olympic Riders 1948 from NSLM on Vimeo. The preserved video includes visual reels only, so there is no sound to accompany the film.

Littauer (1892-1989) was a riding instructor known for the development and promotion of the forward seat system of equitation. Born in Russia, Littauer immigrated to the United States in 1921 and in the 1930s, began a successful career writing instructional books on riding. He was in great demand as a riding instructor throughout his life, and spent several years offering instruction at Sweet Briar College. Many of the preserved clips were recorded and meticulously spliced together by Littauer to accompany his instructional books. Littauer’s personal library (including several manuscripts) is housed in NSLM’s F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.

Are you hungry for a taste of the Scottish countryside? Lionel Edwards obliges in his 1929 work, Scottish Sketchbook. The compilation of many sporting (and sketching) trips to Scotland, the book is a lovely gem filled with impressions of Scottish country life in early 20th Century.

"This picture is a fraud, for it suggests a midday rest after a strenuous morning over dogs in pursuit of the elusive grouse bird. In actual fact it depicts a brother artist, plus my host's dogs, on a hot August day above Loch Ness, all in that drowsy state peculiar to after luncheon on the Sabbath!"
“This picture is a fraud, for it suggests a midday rest after a strenuous morning over dogs in pursuit of the elusive grouse bird. In actual fact it depicts a brother artist, plus my host’s dogs, on a hot August day above Loch Ness, all in that drowsy state peculiar to after luncheon on the Sabbath!”

The sketches are as varied as the landscape of Scotland itself, and Edwards relates the collection to the variety and admixture of Scottish foods. There’s a lot to dig into in the book, which is full of small vignettes and memories.

“These sketches – for they do not aspire to be anything higher – have now been collected, and are served up in the mixed form of a hash. Perhaps, to continue in gastronomical terms, “Scotch Collops” would be a more appropriate title, since with one exception they have not been previously published, and therefore resemble the latter dish in being composed entirely of fresh meat.”
–– Lionel Edwards, Scottish Sketchbook, Introduction

"I hope I can claim the negative virtue of being not worse than my neighbours, but, if one can gauge the minds of others by one's own, one is bound to admit that the green-eyed monster at times mocks one's best endeavours. Although I cannot claim to be a real fisherman, even I have noticed that usually all the luck goes to 'the other boat'!"

“I hope I can claim the negative virtue of being not worse than my neighbours, but, if one can gauge the minds of others by one’s own, one is bound to admit that the green-eyed monster at times mocks one’s best endeavours. Although I cannot claim to be a real fisherman, even I have noticed that usually all the luck goes to ‘the other boat’!”

Lionel Edwards (1878-1966) was a prolific sporting artist of the early 20th Century. Born in Wales, the fifth son of a doctor, Edwards learned to love the countryside and country sport at an early age. Much of his career was spent depicting country pursuits in their element, including foxhunting, fishing and shooting.

"This memory note was made after hunting with the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire, and represents hounds climbing the park wall of Dalmahoy (now a golf club), which is one of the nearest points to Edinburgh over which hounds still hunt."
“This memory note was made after hunting with the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire, and represents hounds climbing the park wall of Dalmahoy (now a golf club), which is one of the nearest points to Edinburgh over which hounds still hunt.”

Hungry for more? This is one of over 100 books available to purchase through the NSLM Annual Auction. The Annual Auction, composed of duplicates from the Library collections, will continue until November 8. This year’s Auction includes some lovely sporting art and is perfect for holiday shopping; contact John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian for more information.

This Saturday, October 10th, the Virginia Fall Races will be held at Glenwood Park here in Middleburg.  Glenwood is a fantastic venue – just outside of town, and there are no bad seats to be found!  It’s easy for guests to get close to the action along the courses and at the paddock.

Virginia Fall Races at Glenwood Park, 2011. (Photo courtesy of VA Fall Races)
Virginia Fall Races at Glenwood Park, 2011 (photo courtesy of VA Fall Races)

We here at the NSLM take care of the literature, art, and history of sports like steeplechasing. But we also love to celebrate the sport today. Steeplechases, or jump races, are generally held on grass tracks, often with somewhat hilly terrain, over fences of brush, timber (wood), and sometimes water jumps. The horses are thoroughbreds and many of them got their start racing on the flat. They are generally older and a bit sturdier than their cousins and siblings at the flat racing tracks. And the jockeys don’t have to be the size of Derby winner Victor Espinoza (he’s 5’2″), but instead can be quite tall.

The Fall race meet at Glenwood is a particularly special one. The feature race of the day is the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, which is held in memory of NSLM founders George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., and George L. Ohrstrom, Jr.

Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. (1894 - 1955) by Erik Guide Haupt (American, 1891 - 1984), oil on canvas Gift of the Ohrstrom Family
Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. (1894 – 1955)
by Erik Guide Haupt (American, 1891 – 1984), oil on canvas
Gift of the Ohrstrom Family
Thomas S. Buechner (American, 1926 - 2010) Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. (1927 - 2005) oil on canvas, 40 x 30 ¼ inches Gift of the Ohrstrom Family, 2003
Portrait of George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. (1927 – 2005), by Thomas S. Buechner (American, 1926 – 2010), oil on canvas
Gift of the Ohrstrom Family, 2003

The Virginia Fall Races were founded not long after the NSLM (founded as the National Sporting Library in 1954). In 1955, George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., who was president of the Orange County Hounds, and Mrs. Theodora A. Randolph, the famous horsewoman and Master of the Piedmont Foxhounds for 40 years, worked together to create a new race meet for Virginia.  Sadly, Mr. Ohrstrom passed away just a month after the first October races. His son, George L. Ohrstrom, Jr., carried on supporting the races and the sport of steeplechasing. Today the Ohrstrom family continues to support the sport and sponsors the NSLM Cup.

The NSLM Cup is a timber race run over a long 3 and 1/4 miles course. The race is open to horses 4 years old and up – and a whopping 17 entries have been nominated to run this year.

National Sporting Library & Museum Cup Elkington & Co., London, 1920, sterling silver Gift of Juliana May, 2014
National Sporting Library & Museum Cup
Elkington & Co., London, 1920, sterling silver
Gift of Juliana May, 2014

The beautiful sterling silver NSLM Cup perpetual trophy will be awarded to the winner, and their names will be engraved on the base. New this year is a gorgeous “keeper” trophy. The owners of the winning horse will receive a stunning sterling silver salver (flat tray with small feet on the bottom) – for keeps! Generously donated by Juliana May, this piece was crafted by English silversmiths William Hutton & Sons, in 1930. It was engraved this year for the 2015 race.

National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, 2015 Winner’s Trophy William Hutton & Sons, Sheffield, England, 1930, sterling silver Gift of Juliana May, 2015
National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, 2015 Winner’s Trophy
William Hutton & Sons, Sheffield, England, 1930, sterling silver
Gift of Juliana May, 2015

Post time for the races is 1 pm. But come to town early and see fox hunters from around the country compete in the Theodora A. Randolph Field Hunter Championship on the infield. Or come to the NSLM to see great examples of steeplechasing in art – before you go see the real thing!

Cecil Aldin (English, 1870 – 1935) The Grand National Series: No. 3, Valentine’s Brook, c. 1923 photogravure, 13 x 25 inches Gift of Dr. Laura Jane Schrock, 1996
Cecil Aldin (English, 1870 – 1935)
The Grand National Series: No. 3, Valentine’s Brook, c. 1923, photogravure
Gift of Dr. Laura Jane Schrock, 1996
Paul Brown (American, 1893-1958) The Last Fence, Pickering, 1934 pencil on paper Gift of Boots Wright in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Riegel, 2013
Paul Brown (American, 1893-1958)
The Last Fence, Pickering, 1934, pencil on paper
Gift of Boots Wright in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Riegel, 2013

When you get to Glenwood, come visit us on the rail at spot A23!