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Joshua Dalby born 1819 – died after 1857
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Joshua Dalby born 1819 – died after 1857

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Charles XII beating Euclid by a head in the run-off match for the 1839 St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster

 

Oil painting on canvas 12 x 19 inches, in a giltwood frame

 

Provenance: …...private collection, USA until 2012

 

The 1839 St Leger on the Town Moor at Doncaster was originally a dead-heat between Charles XII and Euclid, the result being decided by a subsequent Match Race between the two. In the second race, or “deciding heat” as it was called, Euclid held the lead until the last furlong, when Charles XII ranged alongside in a “desperate struggle” for the line: both horses “ran most gallantly”, with Charles Xii just getting up on the line to win by a head.

Charles XII was a dark bay racehorse owned by Major Yarborough, and trained by John Scott “The Wizard of the North”, (1794-1871) who trained a staggering sixteen St Leger winners between Matilda in 1827 and The Marquis in 1862. Charles XII was ridden by his brother William “Bill” Scott, who himself rode nine St Leger winners. Euclid was a chestnut racehorse bred by Mr Thornhill in 1836, got by Emilius out of Maria by Whisker - Gibside Fairy by Hermes - Vicissitude by Pipater - Beatrice by Sir Peter. Phyrræ by Matchem. He was ridden in the 1839 St Leger by the Irishman Patrick Connolly, who, like Bill Scott, was one of the leading jockeys of the day.

Joshua Dalby was a native of York, and part of an artistic family of horse and sporting paintings. His parents were the sporting artist David Dalby (1794-1836) and his wife Margaret. Joshua was baptised at the church of St Helen in York on 3rd August 1819. His father, from whom he received his first training, died when Joshua was 16 years old, and the son rapidly developed his own style and painting practise. His earliest recorded picture (a military equestrian painting, with Ackermann in the 1960's) dates from 1838 when he was resident in in Stonegate, where he describes himself as "painter". Joshua Dalby's paintings are executed with a fine eye for detail, and with an almost miniature precision; their colouring is strong and the drawing firm. At his painterly best, Dalby's paintings have a jewel-like quality.

For many years, it has been presumed that there were two brothers, John and Joshua Dalby, who were both painters of sporting scenes in closely related styles. However, research in the baptismal records and the later census returns (from 1841) show conclusively that the two painters should be conflated: “John” Dalby is a chimera: no painting signed “John Dalby” is known, though there are many signed “J. Dalby” and “Josa Dalby”. The latest known signed picture is dated 1857, and he had disappeared from the census returns by 1861, so the presumption must be that Joshua Dalby died at some unrecorded point between these two dates.
 


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