A pair of Ornithological Cricket prints
26.5 x 16 inches
A scarce pair of chromolithographed plates after the drawings of Harry Bright (1847-1896); published in London circa 1885.
These whimsical prints are both scarce and highly sought after. Each image represents, in ornithological form, the teams of England and Australia; the two great cricket teams that dominated the sport throughout the nineteenth century. They date from the time when Australia won its first test victory on English soil at the Oval in 1882. The press declared that English cricket was dead and the ashes of the game were to be shipped to Australia. The following test match in 1883 became a quest to "recover the Ashes". In this context these prints take on a wonderful historic significance, making light of a sporting rivalry that has continued to the present day. Each team is represented by birds native to the country. The colourful parakeets and cockatoos of Australia contrast with the slightly more domestic line sitting on the English bench, including a robin, a coal tit and a chaffinch.