Horseracing on the Knavesmire, York

Horseracing on the Knavesmire, York


Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827)
Horseracing on the Knavesmire, York

Inscribed in another hand lower left: Nottingham
Pen and grey ink and watercolour
11.8 by 17.7 cm., 4 1/2 by 7 in.

With Spink, London (K3 9390)

Racing is recorded at York from Roman times but was well established at Clifton before moving to its current location on the Knavesmire in 1731. The first Grandstand, as depicted here, was built by the York architect John Carr in 1754 and race days regularly attracted crowds of over 100,000.

There are other views of the Knavesmire by Rowlandson taken from the centre of the course showing the new grandstand with windmills on the hill behind it. Two drawings are in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, with a more finished watercolour in York Art Gallery. It is also depicted in an 1813 engraving after Rowlandson entitled `Dr Syntax loses his Money on the Race Ground at York.'