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Sporting Art, Horses, Racing, Top Flight by Franklin Voss, Print, 1934


Franklin. B. Voss (1880-1953) (artist and engraver)
Top Flight, Plate 10
Sign of the Gosden Head, New York: 1934
Hand-colored engraving
Signed in pencil, lower left margin: F.B. Voss
Numbered in ink, lower right margin 137/260
Blindstamp lower right margin
13.75 x 15.25 inches, plate mark
17.25 x 19 inches, overall

Limited edition print portrait of the prizewinning Hall of Fame thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit (1933-1947) by equestrian painter Franklin Voss. According to an inscription in the lower left margin, Voss based it on a painting in the collection of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the mare’s owner, that had been made when Top Flight was two years old. In the painting, she stands in the sunlight, held by the reins by a Black trainer and surrounded by a crowd elegantly dressed men and women all wearing white hats with black bands. The subtitle in the lower margin gives information about the horse’s pedigree: “Brown Mare, 1929, By Imp. Dis Donc, B., 1918 – Out of Flyatit, B., 1922, By Peter Pan, B., 1904.” Beneath the title and subtitle is a detailed account of Top Flight’s racing career, including races won, earnings, and names of jockeys and trainers. Top Flight made her mark on horse racing in her brief career, as this text makes clear — she was unbeaten as a two year old and earned $219,000, then a record amount of earnings for any two year old in history and setting the mark for leading money winning mare in the world. She followed that achievement in the next two seasons by earning another $275,000.

Product description continues below.


Franklin Brooke Voss combined his family background in equestrian sports and art, becoming a prolific painter of horses and sporting subjects. Born in New York City, he grew up riding and foxhunting, and participated in both flat and steeplechase races as a young man. He also studied art at the Art Student’s League in New York. There he received a thorough grounding in anatomy, an interest that is evident in the naturalistic portrayal of both horses and humans. He vastly preferred on painting from life rather than from photographs. Socially well-connected, he completed more than 500 commissions of race horses, hunting horses and equestrian scenes in the period between 1920 and 1950, including portraits of famed racehorses Man O’ War and Citation and numerous paintings for members of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families. His work is in the collection of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York and he was the subject of an exhibition and catalog at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Virginia, in 1999.

At the Sign of the Gosden Head was a print publishing company that produced popular sporting prints including equestrian, hunting, and marine subjects. They initially planned a set of 12 prints of famous thoroughbred horses by Voss that included this one. 10 were published in 1934, the 11th in 1936 and The Sporting Gallery and Bookshop Inc., New York published the 12th, of the renowned racehorse Seabiscuit, in 1940.

Full publication information: “Publish’d & Copyright’d At the Sign of the Gosden Head, New York, 1934. After the painting of Top Flight as a two year old in the Coll’n of C.V. Whitney, Esq’re.”

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall minor toning and wear. Pinhole and mark from thumbtack upper right margin, can be matted out.


Rives, Barclay, et al. “Franklin B. Voss.” Morven Park. 7 April 2000. (31 October 2003).

Additional information


20th Century