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Sports, Horses, Polo, Cuthbert Bradley, Hurlingham, Antique Print, London, 1888


Cuthbert Bradley (1861-1943)
Polo Cracks, Hurlingham
Fores, London: July 2, 1888
Hand-colored lithograph
Signed in matrix, lower right: Cuthbert Bradley
18.75 x 27.75, border
25.25 x 34 inches, overall

A large folio polo print comprised of a series of vignettes of 19th-century polo matches at Hurlingham, an historic polo club then located in London. Hurlingham has been the headquarters of English polo from 1875. The main illustration of the polo pitch (the British term for a polo field) is set within a central oval illustration with tents and viewing stands in the background. This illustration is surrounded by seven scenes of riders in action and is surmounted by a montage illustration of a stable with six polo ponies of various breeds looking out of their stalls, polo gear, a handwritten list with the names of polo teams, a Tudor building and a verse credited to H.C. Bentley.



The British sporting art publisher Fores, described this print in an advertisement when it was issued:

“A cleverly arranged series of sketches on one sheet, exemplifying the different incidents connected with this increasingly popular sport. We seem to recognize, amongst others, the styles and characteristics of the Earls of Airlie and Harrington, the Rajah of Kuch Behar; Captains Jones, Little, Spicer and Herbert; Messrs. Peat, Mildmay, Baird, Stowe, Vaughan, and Hardy. The heads of the half-dozen ponies, projected from their boxes, admirably typify the different breeds — viz., the Blood, the Arabian, the Irish, the New Forest, the Welsh, and the Indian Tat.”

The verse on the top illustration of the print reads:

For the daring turn and the skilful stroke,
The ever-quickening stride,
The ring of the stirrup, the clash of the stick,
And the rush of the furious ride;
The cheer when the ball through the goal is driven
By the steady hand and eye
Have a wild delight in themselves alone
That can never grow old or die.

—H.C. Bentley, Fores’s Sporting Notes & Sketches

The first polo match was played in England in 1869 and in 1874 the first polo match was played at Hurlingham in London in 1874. The following year, Hurlingham became the headquarters of English polo and drew up the first English rules. The Hurlingham Polo Association is still in existence, although the last game at the London location was played in 1939. Since 1952, the HPA has been based at Cowdray.

Cuthbert Bradley was an English painter, sporting writer and magazine illustrator. He studied architecture at King’s College in London. After graduating, he wrote for The Field and illustrated for Vanity Fair and Fores’s Sporting Notes and Sketches. Some of his paintings and sketches of polo and fox hunting scenes were published as prints by Fores. He also made oil portraits of fox hunting dogs. His paintings are in the collections of the British National Trust and the Leicester County Council Museum.

Fores was an English print publisher and printseller founded in London in 1783 by Samuel William Fores (1761-1838) and continued by his heirs for 200 years. S.W. Fores specialized in caricature prints. After his death in 1838, his sons George Thomas Fores (1806-1858) and Arthur Blücher Fores (1814-1883) took over as Messrs. Fores Sporting and Fine Print Repository, changing the focus largely to horse sporting subjects including riding, hunting, racing, steeple chase, polo, and coaching. Messrs. Fores published works by the foremost British horse and equestrian artists of the day, including Alken, Pollard, Sartorius and J.F. Herring, Sr. They also published Fores’s Sporting Notes and Sketches, a quarterly magazine. Descendants of George Thomas Fores continued to run the company until well into the 20th century. The remaining stock of the firm was acquired in the early 21st century by Stephen Ling of Brackley, Northamptonshire.

Full publication information: “Published July 2nd 1888_, By Mess’rs Fores, 41, Piccadilly, London.”

Condition: Generally very good, recently professional cleaned and deacidified with minor remaining overall wear and toning, and some remnants of dampstain in margins, can be matted out.


“Cuthbert Bradley.” Wikipedia. 10 July 2013. (15 August 2014).

“Fores’s New Sporting Publications.” Fores Sporting Notes and Sketches, Vol. 8. 1891-92. (15 August 2014).

“S.W. Fores (biographical details).” The British Museum. (15 October 2013).

Additional information


19th Century