Behind Closed Doors

Like most museums, the NSLM has only about 10% of its collection on display. Most is in storage, which is where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately and found myself repeating, “I’d love to put this out!” Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as just wanting to hang something up. Instead, I decided now would be a good time to share some of those with you.

Of course I’m drawn towards the prints (I have made my love of prints known in a previous blog post). The one below is an engraving of a gentleman on horseback in a landscape and next to the sea. Meet Douglas Hamilton, the 8th Duke of Hamilton, 5th Duke of Brandon (just two of a few titles!). Born in Scotland in 1756, he inherited his titles from his father at the young age of thirteen. Upon the death of the childless 8th Duke, his ducal title was then passed to his uncle whilst his barony was inherited by his half-brother. It is interesting to note that the Duke doesn’t face us, instead turned towards the sea. Published on October 15, 1797, it was engraved by W.Ward and painted G. Garrard.

(after) George Garrard (English, 1760-1826) William Ward, engraver His Grace the Duke of Hamilton & Brandon & etc., 1797 mezzotint, 27 3/4 x 32 3/4 inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman R. Bobins, 2012

Below is a coaching scene published on October 1 1837 and entitled The Taglioni!!! Four brown horses pull a fancy Windsor coach, known as a Taglioni. It is believed that the name came from an Italian ballerina, Marie Taglioni (1804-1884), who was thought to be the first to dance en pointe. She makes an appearance as the small ballerina on the door of the coach. Well-dressed aristocrats are sitting atop the carriage with two footmen sitting in the back wearing white and blue uniforms. The horses are in the “rocking horse” pose, thought to be how horses truly galloped. This was engraved by J. Harris and after Charles Cooper Henderson.

(after) Charles Cooper Henderson (English, 1803-1877) Rudolph Ackermann II, publisher, The Taglioni!!!, 1837 aquatint, 23 x 27 1/2 inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman R. Bobins, 2012
Detail of The Taglioni!!!

This next print is by Leon Danchin, Gordon Setter with Duck. Gordon setters (or Black and Tan Setters) are one of four setter breeds, the others are English, Irish, and Irish Red and White. Setters are remarkable wingshooting companions. Here you can see that the gundog has retrieved the quarry. They are trained to “soft mouth” their catch so as not to damage any of the meat. If you want to learn more about setters, or any breed, head over to the website of the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog here.

Leon Danchin (French, 1887-1938), Gordon Setter with Duck, 20th century, 16 x 22 1/2 inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of William E. Enemark, 2014

Here’s a close-up:

Detail of Gordon Setter with Duck

The last print I’d like to share is that of British jockey Fred Archer (1857-1886). This was produced to commemorate the jockey’s death. Archer came from a family of jockeys that included both his brothers and his father. Though he had a relatively short career, Fred Archer is considered one of the greatest turf jockeys: he won the Epsom Derby five times (1877, 1880, 1881, 1885, and 1886), and won 246 races in 1885, a 62-year record. He was tall for a jockey, coming in at 5’ 9” and was constantly having to keep his weight down, resorting to unsafe diets to control it. After his wife died shortly after childbirth and his health took a turn for the worse, he died by suicide at the extremely young age of 29. The below print was reproduced in the newspapers, showing Archer wearing the colors of the Prince of Wales.

The Late Fred Archer in the Colours of H.R.H. Prince of Wales, 1886, lithograph, 18 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches, National Sporting Library & Museum

I hope you enjoyed the trip into storage, keep your eyes peeled on our social media feeds to see more behind-the-scenes at the NSLM.


George Glazer Gallery:

How They Play: The Tragic Life of Fred Archer by Rupert Taylor

Museum of the Dog:

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s