A wonderful horse portrait of a prize winning stallion called Skyscraper by Henry Frederick Lucas Lucas. Skyscraper was a bay stallion owned by Mr Alex Neilson during the early 1900’s. The horse won the Warwickshire Hunt Point-to-point steeplechase, heavy weight class held at Chesterton on Tuesday 9 April 1901. This portrait was painted by Lucas Lucas in the June of 1901 and was probably commissioned by Neilson to commemorate the win.
Henry Frederick Lucas was born on 24 March, 1848 in Louth, Lincolnshire, the son of St. John Wells Lucas, a surgeon and Louisa Lucas née Bazalgette. His mother died when he was young and by 1871 the family had moved to Withington in Lancashire where Lucas became an architect's pupil, helping to produce drawings. At some point in his late 20’s, he decided to become an artist and although little is known about his education, given the quality of his work he most likely studied art and animal anatomy. It is unclear why he started signing his works as Henry Frederick Lucas-Lucas, but this may well have been to distinguish himself from other artists.
He married Sarah Blanche Mordacque on 26 June, 1877 at St Peter Port, Guernsey and they moved to Rugby shortly afterwards, living at Clifton Road. By 1879, Lucas had established himself as an animal artist and was living in North Street. Their only child St John Welles Lucas Lucas (1879-1934) later attended Oxford and became a poet, publishing works from 1904.
Lucas specialised in sporting paintings usually featuring horses or dogs. Many of his works were portraits of racehorses, polo ponies and hunters, but he also painted hunting scenes, including the Pytchley Hunt and polo matches. His paintings were popular within the sporting community and gained him many commissions, including those from patrons such Earl Beatty and Sir Humphrey de Trafford. Many polo ponies and hunters that were owned by them were painted by Lucas. Some of the polo ponies that played in the Westchester Cup matches were also painted by him including Charmer, owned by Walter Jones and Blue Sleeve owned by Pat Nichols in 1909. Some of his paintings were also published by Fores Sporting Prints including perhaps his most famous work ‘Putting in the Terrier. Although he tended to work mostly on commissions, he is known to have exhibited at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists between 1885 and 1887.
Lucas married Kathleen Liffie Beatson in October of 1890 after the death of his wife. The couple had 5 children together and lived at Hillmorton Road, Rugby. He continued to work as an artist from his base in Rugby, following sporting events around the country. After the death of his second wife in 1935, he spent his remaining years living at Bilton Hill, Rugby and was still known to be active as an artist as late as 1939. He died in Northampton in 1943 at the age of 95. Examples of his work are held by the National Horseracing Museum, National Trust, Newport Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Museum of the Dog, New York.
|Presentation||The work is housed in its original oak frame with gilt slip 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||19.5 inches x 25.5 inches (49.5cm x 65cm)|
|Framed size||26.25 inches x 32.25 inches (66.5cm x 82cm)|