40 FULL-PAGE PORTRAITS OF “CRACK” RACEHORSES
WILDRAKE, pseudonym [TATTERSALL, George]. The Cracks of the Day. London: Rudolph Ackermann, 1843. Royal octavo, early 20th-century full red crushed morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and cover borders with equestrian motifs, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $1250.
Second edition of this ten-years’ chronicle of the English Turf, “with additions, completing the work to January, 1843,” with separate wood-engraved title page and 73 illustrations, including 40 full-page steel-engravings of great racehorses, beautifully bound by Bayntun of Bath for Brentano’s.
George Tattersall, whose family owned and operated Tattersall’s, the famous London horse auction mart, was a well-known sporting artist and architect. He showed skill as an architect by building the Tattersall stud stables at Willesden. This experience led him to publish Sporting Architecture (1841). His Cracks of the Day, first published in 1840 under the pseudonym “Wildrake,” describes and illustrates 65 of the best (”crack”) racehorses. He also contributed illustrations to Charles Apperley’s Hunting Reminiscences (1843), the Book of Sports (1843), and the New Sporting Almanack. In his preface to Cracks, Tattersall promises to “bury all unpleasant reminiscences with the bones of the by-gones in the grave of Eclipse,” who was never beaten in the two seasons he ran (1769-1770) and was retired largely because of the lack of competition. Publisher Rudolph Ackermann’s reputation for producing and disseminating fine sporting prints spanned over two centuries. Rudolph junior, for example, founded the Eclipse Sporting Gallery in 1826 as a showcase for sporting art, upon whose walls Tattersall’s work was undoubtedly displayed. Original cloth covers and spine bound in at rear.
Only faint occasional patches of foxing to text and plates. A near-fine copy, beautifully bound.