National horseracing museum collection

Rothschild Room

Rothschild Room

This is the first gallery in Palace House which explores 17th Centuary Sporting Art.

Rural sports such as hunting, hawking, shooting and horseracing have been the subject of paintings for hundreds of years. In the seventeenth century they were mainly pursuits of the aristocratic and land-owning elite, the traditional patrons of sporting art. Paintings and tapestries of sporting scenes were often commissioned to decorate royal palaces, country houses and hunting lodges.

Following the Restoration of Charles II, a small number of Dutch and Flemish artists travelled to England. At that time, these European animal and landscape painters shaped the development of sporting art. The exchange of sporting paintings, illustrated books and even decorative sporting weapons further influenced the development of early sporting art in Britain. 

By the end of the seventeenth century, a small number of native artists were beginning to work on sporting subjects. While the Continental tradition remained influential, a uniquely British school of sporting art began to emerge.

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