Harry Hall

British, (1815-1882)
Blink Bonny
Oil on canvas, signed & dated 1857

This well executed sporting horse portrait by Harry Hall is of the famous racehorse Blink Bonny. It is one of a number of portraits he painted of the horse. Blink Bonny was a bay mare foaled in 1854, sired by Melbourne and out of Old Queen Mary. She was owned and bred by Mr William I’Anson who was from Gullane, Scotland but moved to Spring Cottage in Malton, North Yorkshire where he set up the Malton Stables. Blink Bonny won the 1857 Derby ridden by Johnnie Charlton with a time of 2 minutes and 45 seconds. She also won The Oaks in the same year. The stables were later named the Blink Bonny Stud in her honour. I’Anson bred a number of successful race horses which also included Blair Athol, also out of Old Queen Mary. After Blink Bonny died her skeleton was preserved and given to York Museum by I’Anson.

Harry Hall was born in Cambridge in 1815 to Henry and Marie Hall (née Prior). He was christened Henry Hall on 10 September 1815, but went by the name of Harry for most of his life. His father worked as a butler at St John’s College, Cambridge and the family lived nearby at Jesus Lane and later All Saints Passage. Little has been found about his early education, but he is known to have left Cambridge to study at Pavis’s School of Art in London for a short time. He remained in London living at 14, Portland Terrace, St. John's Wood from where he made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1838. He also later exhibited at the British Institution and the Royal Society of British Artists.

Hall began working for Tattersalls, the race horse auctioneers based at Hyde Park Corner, They owned a number of publications including British Racehorses and The Sporting Review and he produced illustrations for several of them. He also worked for The Illustrated London News and The Field, becoming their chief artist. The Sporting Magazine published 114 plates by him.

By 1839, he had moved to Newmarket where he set himself up as an animal and portrait painter based on the High Street. He began specialising in sporting paintings and made a name for himself by painting the Derby winners for 43 consecutive years. He married Ellen Ann Payne on 16 September 1841 at All Saints Church, Newmarket. The couple had 8 children together and one of their sons, Sydney Prior Hall (1842-1922), who he named after his mother’s family, became a portrait painter and illustrator. Although he was based at Newmarket High Street for many years, he was often away from home; one of the factors which may have precipitated the formal separation from his wife. Towards the end of his life lived at Audley House, close to the training stables and gallops of Newmarket, where he died on 22 April, 1882.

His work is held in many public collections including the Danum Gallery, English Heritage, Government Art Collection, Laing Art Gallery, National Trust, National Horseracing Museum, Regimental Museum of 13th/18th Royal Hussars (QMO) and The Light Dragoons, Towneley Hall Art Gallery, The Wilson, Weston Park and the Yale Centre for British Art.

Presentation The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
Condition As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.
Image Size 25 inches x 31 inches (63.5cm x 79cm)
Framed Size 32.25 inches x 38.25 inches (82cm x 97cm)