Auguste Blanchard after William Frith
Frame 57 x 34 inches
A large-scale etching by Auguste Blanchard after the famous painting by William Powell Frith (1819-1909); published in Pall Mall, London by Henry Graves and Co. in 1863.
This magnificently evocative image depicts all the excitement of the Derby races up on the Epsom Downs and is perhaps the definitive Victorian genre scene. The original painting hangs at Tate Britain and was described by Christie's the auctioneers as "an undisputed masterpiece". It was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1858 and met with instant acclaim. People at the time were already familiar with Frith's earlier blockbuster, Life at the Seaside, and most of those looking at the painting would have made the trip out to the racecourse at Epsom. Large numbers of Londoners visited the Derby in Victorian England; a tradition that continues to the present day. To the left of the scene we can see a private tent erected by The Reform Club and upon closer inspection we see a local scallywag conning the wealthy city gents out of their winnings. The picture is full of such intriguing detail and Frith delights in presenting us with a plethora of Victorian society: acrobats, urchins and aristocrats jostle for attention alongside prostitutes and gypsies. It is truly a feast for the eyes.