POLLARD, After James (1792-1867)
Changing Horses to the Mail Coach
[N.p., but London: n.d., but 1815]. Aquatint printed in brown, coloured by hand, by R. Havell. (Trimmed to the image and mounted). Sheet size: 12 1/2 x 17 5/8 inches.
A classic Pollard image from the great age of coaching.
James Pollard was the youngest son of the London engraver and print-seller Robert Pollard. He began work at the age of fifteen as a painter but quickly turned to engraving as well. In the 1820s his coaching scenes became both fashionable and lucrative. From 1821 he exhibited a small number of pictures at the Royal Academy and the British Institution which brought him more patrons. Between 1830 and 1840, Pollard also painted a number of racing pictures and some of the earliest scenes of steeplechasing. In all his work he took great pains over accuracy. "Changing Horses to the Mail Coach is the first of four prints after James Pollard illustrating this familiar scene on the road" (Selway, The Regency Road, p. 50). Mail was transported in Great Britain via Royal Mail coaches beginning in 1784. They traveled over ever improving roads, thanks to "macadamized" roads, until 1838 when the task was given to the railways. The changing of the mail horses is said to have been accomplished in later years in as little as 45 seconds.
Selway James Pollard , p. 40; Selway, Regency Road I.