/, The Irish Equestrian Emporium, The Irish Pub Decor Emporium/Pair of original Vanity Fair Horse Racing Character Prints

Pair of original Vanity Fair Horse Racing Character Prints


Classy pair of Vanity Fair Spy chromolithograph type original caricature prints.The drawing of the jockey J.E Watts is  by Ao or Armadillo from 1903.The accompanying caricature of “Wenty” was drawn by Spy and is an original print of Captain Wentworth William Hope Johnston.When first published in Vanity Fair each caricature would come with an amusing biography such as in Wenty’s case:

MEN OF THE DAY. No. 677.

Captain Wentworth William Hope Johnstone.
A WHOLESOME Scotchman, he comes of a good old Border family that has produced many quite capable sportsmen; he is forty-nine years old; and he knows as much about a horse as any other man. Born in Dumfriesshire, he was early used to a healthy outdoor life; and he soon increased his natural love of horseflesh by joining the 7th Hussars: whence he retired a Captain, after having thrice won the Grand Military. He also won the Prince of Wales’s first Steeplechase on Leonidas; he headed the list of amateur riders in 1876 with forty-five wins, and in 1877 with fifty-five out of 114 mounts; he has beaten his field once out of every three races of over eleven hundred that he has ridden during the long space of thirty-one years; he has been first past the post on every steeplechase course in the United Kingdom; and he has seen men race all over the world. Yet he still believes in waiting in front, although there is none other now riding who rode when he began.
He manages Mr. F. D. Leyland’s horses, and rides them when he can do the weight. Although he is six feet long he has ridden ten stone seven; and he has been so successful that people say that he often wins out of his turn. He is a good, quiet fellow, who is full of pluck and unbroken nerve. He is altogether a popular gentleman rider; and ‘Wenty’s’ wife is very proud of his riding.
He has never had an accident riding; but he was once badly smashed in a four-wheel cab.

We have no such biography of Mr Watts but we do know he was a British flat-race jockey. In a career that lasted from 1880 until 1900 he rode the winners of 19 Classics. He was noted for his quiet and unspectacular style and undemonstrative personality.On his retirement from riding he became a trainer but died two years later.Jack Watts was born at Stockbridge, Hampshire in 1860. In his mid teens he was apprenticed to the trainer Tom Cannon at Danebury, and rode his first winner in 1876. In 1878 he moved to Newmarket and joined the successful stable of Richard Marsh. His association with Marsh would last throughout his career.

Marsh’s patrons included the King Edward VII and the Duke of Hamilton, providing Watts with a string of top class rides. His major winners for the Duke included Ossian (St Leger) and Miss Jummy (1000 Guineas, Oaks), while the Prince provided him with probably his best horse, the Derby winner Persimmon. Watts was less fortunate with the Prince’s second Derby winner, Diamond Jubilee, who loathed the jockey and tried to attack him before the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Watts subsequently gave up the ride on the temperamental colt.

Watts was also successful when riding for other owners and trainers including Mathew Dawson and John Porter for whom he rode the Derby winners Ladas and Sainfoin respectively.

By 1895 Watts was having serious weight problems and the constant “wasting” was affecting his health. He resolved to retire at the end of 1895, but was persuaded to reconsider by Marsh. Watts finally retired in 1900 and set himself up as a trainer at Newmarket, where his patrons included the King. He health was never good, however and he died after falling ill at a race meeting at Sandown in July 1902. He was forty-one years old. His funeral on 2 August was attended by “almost the entire town” of Newmarket.Jack Watts was married twice and started a dynasty of trainers. His son John Evelyn Watts trained the 1927 Derby winner Call Boy, and his grandson John Frederick Watts became private trainer to Lord Derby and won the St Leger with Indiana in 1964. Jack Watts’ great-grandson, John William “Bill” Watts trained Waterloo to win the 1000 Guineas in 1972 and Teleprompter to win the 1985 Arlington Million.

Vanity Fair was published in London from 1869 to 1914, and each magazine would contain a loose print of a caricature painted by various artists. ‘Spy’ worked for Vanity Fair for 40 years until it ceased publication in 1914. ‘Spy’ was Sir Leslie Ward (1851 – 1922) and he was the grandson of the well-known horse-painter James Ward. Sir Leslie Ward is best known as an artist working in oil, water-colour and black-and-white, although he also studied architecture. ‘Spy’ achieved notoriety by his painting and cartoons of public figures in VF and his works all contain the signature ‘SPY’. His works were also published in the supplements, the most well known being ‘Men of the Day’.A was an artist known by his real name of Carlo Pellegrini.

Origins : Co Kildare

Dimensions :35cm x 24cm     5kg (sold as pair)


Dimensions :


Additional information

Weight 5 kg
Dimensions 35 × 24 cm