Stubbs horse painting doubles pre-auction estimate

December 12, 2008

Herring's picture of Industry and Caroline Elvina fetched $US338,500.

Stubbs's Ambrosio, which fetched $US206,500.

John Skeaping's bronze titled "Secretariat in full stride" fetched $US57,500.

Several equestrian paintings and bronzes by renowned horse artists were among dozens to go under the hammer at auction house Sotheby's in New York last week.

Several lots by John Herring were sold, including the sale's top priced lot, a painting of the thoroughbred filly Industry, with the filly Caroline Elvina, fetching $US338,500. It was well under its expected range of $US450-650,000. The painting, titled "The Earl of Chesterfield's Industry with W. Scott up and Caroline Elvina with J. Holmes up in a paddock", was painted by Herring in 1838.

Industry was a bay filly by Priam out of Arachne, bred by the Earl of Chesterfield in 1835. In 1838 she won the Oaks with W. Scott up. Caroline Elvina was a bay filly by Tramp out of Babel, and foaled in 1835. She ran in the Oaks in 1838 and was unplaced. She was eventually sold to the emperor of Russia and exported. Herring painted three versions of this work.

A highlight of the sale was a single painting by George Stubbs. His painting of Ambrosio, from 1804, fetched $US206,500, more than its expected range of $100,000 to $150,000. The painting, titled "Ambrosio, a bay stallion, the property of Thomas Haworth", depicts the bay stallion as an older horse. Ambrosio enjoyed a successful career, winning the York for John Lowther and the St Leger for Joseph Cookson before retiring to Thomas Haworth's stud farm at Barham Wood. The painting of Ambrosio was exhibited at London's Tate Gallery in 1934, and in the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1935.

Among other works at the sale, a bronze by John Skeaping of Secretariat fetched $US57,500. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York has two larger versions of the cast; one on exhibition at the Museum in Saratoga Springs, and the other in the Paddock at Belmont Racetrack. Belmont is the site of Secretariat's 1973 win of the Triple Crown by an extraordinary 31 lengths.

Two by American artist Richard Stone Reeves works also sold. "Sagaro in the Paddock at Royal Ascot" from 1977 fetched $US32,500, and a portrait of the mare Lady's Secret sold for $US20,000.

A sketch by Sir Alfred Munnings titled "A sketch of a horse fair" fetched $US9375.

The sale of Equestrian, Wildlife and Maritime Art fetched a total of $US2,319,125.