Let me put this out there, I love prints and I am not ashamed to admit it. I have several decorating my house, my favorite being Edvard Munch’s lithograph of The Scream. Though I love the warm colors of the oil and pastel paintings, the lithograph provides a rawness unique to the medium. Why can I afford a print of one of the most well-known works of art in the world? Precisely because it’s a print.

Edvard Munch, The Scream, copy of lithograph, 1895, copyright King & McGaw New Road, Newhaven, England, BN90EH

The term prints can be a little misleading as it can be used as a catch-all for a range of works on paper. Within most museums and galleries, it generally encompasses the various techniques of lithography, aquatints, block prints, drypoints, screenprints, and engravings. People love to hate them because they can be mass produced, which makes them more ubiquitous than their one-of-a-kind counterparts: paintings. An original print loosely refers to works made by the artist using one of the above methods. A reproduction would be a copy of an original work of art or, in the case of my version of The Scream, it’s more likely a copy of a copy of a copy, which technically (and confusingly) still qualifies as a print. Have I lost you yet?

“Mass production” doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. For many artists, especially before the advent of modern technology, it was a way to become more familiar to potential clients. Albrecht Durer (German, 1471-1528), arguably the greatest of Northern Renaissance artists, understood the importance of mass production. Engravings and lithographs made his works available to everyone whilst simultaneously spreading his name and thereby, his recognition.

Prints also show us what subjects and themes were considered popular enough to be reproduced. As they were so prevalent, it should not be a surprise to reveal that prints are the best represented medium within the NSLM collection. Several are currently on display in Gallery 7, including Herring’s Agricultural Scenes by John Frederick Herring Sr. (English, 1795-1865). These are three lithographs entitled Hay-making, Hop-making, and Ploughing.


The prints were initially published in 1856 (Hay-making) and 1857 (Hop-picking and Ploughing). Putting the works themselves into context, they capture a moment in time when there was a longing for “simpler” times, one where life was unencumbered by the noise and grime of the city in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. One where there was a desire for nature and the clean air of the countryside. But these prints are remembering a way of life that never was, instead it shows a romanticized version of arduous and demanding jobs. One would imagine that those undertaking these grueling tasks would be grimacing and covered in sweat and dirt. Instead, everyone, even those working, are spotless and neat. Figures are sitting on the ground, a child is petting a dog, women are talking amongst themselves. It is actually a very leisurely scene considering the subject matter.


Interestingly, the women bear a resemblance to images of a young Queen Victoria, who would have been in her late thirties when the prints were produced. It could simply be a coincidence that the leading publisher of the day, Henry Graves & Co., was the official publisher to the royal couple. As stated below each image, “…Henry Graves & Co., printsellers & publishers to Her Majesty the Queen & His Royal Highness, Prince Albert.” I would be curious to see how much input the publisher provided or maybe Herring was just being clever. The royal family was considered the epitome of the wholesome family and served as an example to others. This scene, then, could also represent the tenet of the family unit working together harmoniously.

“J.F. Herring” is listed as pinxit meaning “he painted” and “Vincent Brooks” is credited as lith, the company that printed the lithograph. (For more Latin terms and another print collection at the NSLM, see the blog entry Princely Prints by former Curator of Collections, Nicole Stribling.) Herring produced numerous works for the publisher Henry Graves & Co., and these could be purchased through mail-order catalogs. Hop-picking and Ploughing were available in Bent’s Monthly Literary Advertiser shown below.

Bent’s Monthly Literary Advertiser, August 10, 1858, Volume 18, pg. 144
Bent’s Monthly Literary Advertiser, August 18, 1858, Volume 18, pg. 54

Prints are very fragile and can be susceptible to a wide range of issues, from accretions and buckling to warping and wrinkling. They also require their own unique care – for instance, light levels need to be lower, and they need to rotate into storage more often. You can see in the below image the waves at the top of the paper, this is referred to as “buckling.”

Herring’s Agricultural Scene: Hay-making, 1856

Having been on display for several months, the Agricultural Scenes will be returned to storage shortly for a much-needed break. I hope you had the chance to see them for yourself.

While my print of The Scream is not an original print by any stretch, it was produced in the same spirit as Herring’s Agricultural Scenes: that of personal enjoyment within my little home and to symbolize my mood when someone comes to visit.

Lauren Kraut is the Collections Manager at the National Sporting Library & Museum. Her primary focus is to maintain and preserve the works of art in the collection and on loan. Email her at lkraut@NationalSporting.org

One resource I have come to rely on heavily since starting at the National Sporting Library & Museum has been the newsletters published by the Library since 1975. It is a real delight to read articles written by the founders themselves, to include Alexander Mackay-Smith. I will be featuring these newsletters in the blog. While many members may have read these when they were first published, I hope that many will be excited reading them for the first time. What follows is the first article published in the first issue of the National Sporting Library & Museum’s newsletter.

National Sporting Library Newsletter, September 1975, Vol. 1, No. 1

No one can really understand a nation without a knowledge of the way it spends its leisure time. By far the greater part of our leisure is devoted to sport, either as participants or as spectators. Our greatest spectator sport is horse racing which leads all other sports in paid admissions by a wide margin. Racing supports its own periodicals including daily newspapers, while the leisure time magazines with much the largest circulation are those devoted to shooting and fishing which, with foxhunting (and beagling), constitute the trio known as Field Sports.

Turf and Field Sports are the province of the National Sporting Library, reputedly the only public library in the country devoted solely to sport. Located in Middleburg, Virginia, forty miles west of Washington, it is housed in the 1804 brick house known as “Vine Hill” which it shares with the weekly periodical, “The Chronicle of the Horse.” Although the comfortable main reading room is open to anyone who wants to look up a pedigree or racing record, the National Sporting Library is, according to its masthead, “A Research Center for Turf and Field Sports, their History and Social Significance.” No books are allowed to leave the building, the lower floor being reserved for the Librarian’s office, for book stacks and for the underground humidity controlled, fireproof vault with shelves for approximately 6,000 volumes.

Since its founding in 1954, the National Sporting Library has received many gifts of entire collections and of individual volumes, some rare, some working copies, and hopes to receive many more in the future. It has, either in original issues or in microfilm, most of the North American periodicals devoted to Turf and Field Sports published during the past two centuries, and hopes to complete this collection within the next few years. It is now in the process of indexing these periodicals in accordance with standards adopted by the American Society of Indexers. Already completed are indexes of The New York Sporting Magazine (Mar. 1833 – Dec. 1834) and its successor, The United States Sporting Magazine (Nov. 1835 – Aug. 1836), and the first five years of available issues of The Spirit of the Times (1831 – 1835). Nearing completion is the index of the American Turf Register, 1829 – 1844.

The considerable number of scholars who have already worked in the Library are enthusiastic about the availability of material, the facilities offered, and the opportunities for original contributions to knowledge based on the very wide range of subjects covered by these periodicals — not only the full spectrum of field sports, but also other sports, art, literature, music and allied fields. We look forward to assisting many others in the future and hope that financial assistance, where required, may be made available to scholars undertaking particularly noteworthy projects through Fellowships and through publication.

The National Sporting Library collections, and particularly its microfilming and indexing project of periodicals devoted to Turf and Field Sports, a field hitherto relatively inaccessible to scholars, are becoming increasingly useful, not only for the pursuit of special projects, but also for putting into proper perspective the immense influence played by sport in the evolution of this country.

By Alexander Mackay-Smith, Curator

Posted by Michelle Guzman, George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Head Librarian

Many sportsmen have been inspired by country life to put brush to canvas.  So too have many whose talents have a more literary cast.  The canon of fiction, prose, verse, and song generated by the lovers of country sports and the lifestyle in which they are set fill many shelves at the NSLM.  The poems and songs of William H. Ogilvie are among them.

Will Ogilvie in 1901.  Kerry & Co. of Sydney, from the collection of The State Library of Queensland
Wikimedia Commons.

William, or more commonly Will, Ogilvie was born into a large family based in the Scottish border town of Kelso during the summer of 1869.  He was educated at Kelso High School before attending  Fettes College in Edinburgh where he was a good athlete, participating in rugby and running, and an excellent student, winning a prize for Latin verse.

At the age of twenty, Will emigrated to Australia.  He arrived with a letter of introduction to Robert Scott’s family which eventually landed him the first of a series of jobs at sheep stations.  Friends of the Scotts needed help on their ranch called Belalie located in New South Wales.  Here Will mastered the skills of drover, station hand, horseman, and horse breaker.  Here he also began to record his experiences in poems.  His love of the Australian bush country, horses, dogs, and fair ladies, forms the subject of his ballads.  He published most of his work in newspapers and periodicals and gradually became recognized as one of the great bush poets of Australia.

Will Ogilvie around 1937.  From
Wikimedia Commons.

After twelve years in Australia, Will returned to Scotland.  He would continue to create poems featuring horses, riding, and country life, throughout his long life.  Many of his works would be printed in magazines such as Punch and The Spectator in England, as well as The Bulletin in Australia.  In addition, there were numerous collections of his work published.  Below I’ve shared three of his poems.  I especially enjoy the nostalgic mood of “The Huntsman’s Horse.”

Illustration by Lionel Edwards from his Seen from the Saddle (1937).  The gift of A. Mackay-Smith.

The Huntsman’s Horse
by Will Ogilvie

The galloping seasons have slackened his pace,
And stone wall and timber have battered his knees
It is many a year since he gave up his place
To live out his life in comparative ease.

No more does he stand with his scarlet and white
Like a statue of marble girth deep in the gorse;
No more does he carry the Horn of Delight
That called us to follow the huntsman’s old horse.

How many will pass him and not understand,
As he trots down the road going cramped in his stride,
That he once set the pace to the best in the land
Ere they tightened his curb for a lady to ride!

When the music begins and a right one’s away,
When hoof-strokes are thudding like drums on the ground,
The old spirit wakes in the worn-looking grey
And the pride of his youth comes to life at a bound.

He leans on the bit and he lays to his speed,
To the winds of the open his stiffness he throws,
And if spirit were all he’d be up with the lead
Where the horse that supplants him so easily goes.

No double can daunt him, no ditch can deceive,
No bank can beguile him to set a foot wrong,
But the years that have passed him no power can retrieve —
To the swift is their swiftness, their strength to the strong!

To the best of us all comes a day and a day
When the pace of the leaders shall leave us forlorn,
So we’ll give him a cheer – the old galloping grey –
As he labours along to the lure of the Horn.

From Scattered Scarlet (1923).  The gift of John H. and Martha Daniels.

Illustration by Lionel Edwards from his My Irish Sketch Book (1938).  The gift of John H. and Martha Daniels.

The White Hound
by Will Ogilvie

The white hound runs at the head of the pack,
And mute as a mouse is he,
And never a note he flings us back
While the others voice their glee.
With nose to the ground he holds his line
Be it over the plough or grass;
He sets a pace for the twenty-nine
And won’t let one of them pass.

The white hound comes from a home in Wales,
Where they like them pale in hue
And can pick them up when the daylight fails
And the first gold stars look through.
They can see them running on dark hill-sides
If they speak to the scent or no,
And the snow-white hounds are welcome guides
Where the wild Welsh foxes go.

The white hound runs with our dappled pack
Far out behind him strung;
He shows the way to the tan-and-black
But he never throws his tongue.
At times he leads by a hundred yards,
But he’s always sure and sound;
All packs, of course, have their picture cards,
And ours is the old white hound.

The Master says he is far too fast
For our stout, determined strain,
And the huntsman curses him – ‘D—n and blast
He’s away by himself again!’
But the Field is glad when it sees him there,
For we know when a fox is found
The pace will be hot and the riding rare
In the track of the old white hound.

From The Collected Sporting Verse of Will H. Ogilvie (1932). The gift of Edmund S. Twining III.

Illustration by Lionel Edwards from A Handful of Leather (1928). The gift of John H. and Martha Daniels.

A Wish
by Will Ogilvie

O, Fame is a fading story
And gold a glitter of lies,
But speed is an endless glory
And health is a lasting prize;
And the swing of a blood horse striding
On turf elastic and sound
Is joy secure and abiding
And kingship sceptered and crowned.

So give me the brave wind blowing,
The open fields and free,
The tide of the scarlet flowing,
And a good horse under me;
And give me that best of bounties:
A gleam of November sun,
The far-spread English counties,
And a stout red fox to run.

From A Handful of Leather (1928). The gift of John H. and Martha Daniels.

The Library holds many of Ogilvie’s books as well as those of numerous other sporting poets in our Main Reading Room.  Please consider dropping by and spending an afternoon exploring them!


Erica Libhart has served as the Mars Technical Services Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2016. The focus of her position is collection services, working to increase accessibility to NSLM’s collection of books, periodicals, and archival materials. The NSLM collections span over 350 years of the history of equestrian sport, as well as fly fishing, wing shooting, and other field sports. Have a question? Contact Erica by e-mail.

When I walked into Joan Danziger’s studio for the first time in 2016, it was magical. An authentic reflection of the artist’s creative output for the past four decades, it is both a working space and a showcase.

I was there to view a new wire and glass sculpture series Danziger had embarked upon of horses. I knew of her previous beetle sculptures, and my interest was piqued. Against a backdrop of over 50 sparkling insects hanging on a wall were two completed equine works, Riders of the Blue Spirit and Black Star, and a few others that had been started.

Black Star, 2016, metal and glass, 32 x 48 x 17 inches

They were something new, something different. As I walked around the sculptures taking pictures of them, I began to analyze how they were different. They were joyful, they made me smile, and they were free-spirited; there was something noteworthy about how they were created that made them unique.

Riders of the Blue Spirit, 2016, metal and glass, 29 x 40 x 29 inches

Danziger has completed 17 horses in the past three years since that visit, of which we have on loan 13 in her current solo exhibition at the National Sporting Library & Museum, Canter & Crawl: The Glass Sculpture of Joan Danziger. Her sometimes whimsical works have a freedom and airiness that is emphasized by their mixed media and construction. Each has a metal base with a soldered rod around which up to four layers of chicken wire are wrapped and shaped. Because her materials are so lightweight, Danziger can project her forms, sometimes as much as 3 feet, away from their footings. The negative space created around the works adds an almost ethereal quality. The support rods are mostly hidden in the finished sculpture, heightening the allusion of her horses as archetypes of dancing, galloping, jumping, and frolicking.

Golden Prince, 2017, metal, glass, dichroic glass, and brass wire, 39 x 53 x 25 inches

The contemporary sculptor’s pieces are obviously not meant to be perfect representations of horse anatomy but are an exploration of the spirit and nature of the horse. Danziger’s studio assistant Rebecca Long, a representational sculptor, creates the basic forms, and Danziger instructs her on elongating and exaggerating proportions. In her early career, Danziger was an abstract painter having studied at Cornell University. Relying on her knowledge of color theory and abstraction, she cuts and applies glass shards and braids wire to the forms to create mosaic surfaces that are an intriguing play of light, shadow, texture, translucency, and opacity.

Detail of Riders of the Blue Spirit, 2016

As a photographer, I can attest to how difficult it is to capture the nuances and subtleties of three-dimensional art in a photograph. We at NSLM are excited to be the first venue for Joan Danziger’s uplifting horse series so that visitors may experience these sparkling jewels in person. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet and are within driving distance, I encourage you to visit Canter & Crawl before it closes on January 5, 2020.

Panorama of one of the Canter & Crawl galleries.

pfeiffer

Claudia Pfeiffer is the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Head Curator at the National Sporting Library & Museum and has been with the organization since the position was first underwritten by the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Foundation in 2012. Her primary focus is the research, design, interpretation, writing, and installation of exhibitions. E-mail Claudia at cpfeiffer@nationalsporting.org

This year the National Sporting Library & Museum will participate in its first-ever GivingTuesday and we are so excited!

Falling annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, GivingTuesday began with the simple idea of encouragement: encouragement to do good, to inspire others to give, reach out to others, create community, and celebrate generosity.

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 to kick off the beginning of the charitable giving season. It is a digital initiative where organizations primarily raise funds through emails and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In 2018, more than 150 countries participated in this international day of giving, raising $400+ million online.

For our first ever GivingTuesday, we will be raising $700 to repair the clamshell box that stores and protects Theodore Roosevelt’s original, handwritten manuscript, “Riding to hounds on Long Island.” This rare manuscript is a popular item at the NSLM and is often shown to the public on tours or used by visiting researchers. The manuscript is housed in a protective red leather case along with a copy of “The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine” (July, 1886) in which the final copy of his manuscript was published.

We have such a fantastic community of supporters at the NSLM and we cannot wait to see your response to GivingTuesday!

Here is how you can help:

  1. Donate! Any amount makes a tremendous difference to our dear Teddy!
  2. Share our GivingTuesday posts on Facebook with your friends and family. You are our best supporter and ambassador in the community!
  3. Forward our GivingTuesday emails!

If you’d like to contribute this GivingTuesday to help fix the case protecting Theodore Roosevelt’s original manuscript, please follow the link below:

https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/NationalSportingLibrary/2019-GivingTuesday.html

Let’s help protect this rare piece of American History at the NSLM!

Lauren joined the NSLM’s Development Department in July 2019 as the Development Associate. She is responsible for membership, communications, and database management.