[Sketches from the Washington Races on October 1840 by An Eye Witness
[London: no date, but circa 1840]. Folio. (22 x 15 inches). Without title or text (as published). 3 fine hand-coloured lithographed plates by and after Newdegate.
Unbound as issued in original oatmeal paper wrappers, lithographic title on upper wrapper. Modern black cloth box, black morocco lettering piece.
A very fine copy of this rare color-plate work, describing in three plates, with explanatory rhymed quatrains beneath, the course of a race, with black jockeys, run at Washington race course, Charleston, South Carolina in October 1840.
The gray mare wins by a large margin, having been pushed all the way to the winning post by her jockey. The descriptive verses beneath each plate describe the the race: 1. 'At the tap of the drum they jump of from the stand, / Be the track deep in mud or heavy with sand, / At a pace which at once makes fast ones extend, / And e'en the best winded cry bellows to mend.' 2. 'And now they have reach'd the third mile, second heat, / The mare is still going, the horse is dead beat; / Says Sambo "Me know how Massa him do it, / So me gib him de whip, and make him stick to it."' 3. 'Now the Winner comes in decidedly blown, / Tho 'ere two miles were done the race was her own, / But they go the whole hog in this western clime, / When they've beaten the field they run against time.' The mention of 'western clime' allied with the first line of the verse on the upper cover ('British Steeds that you're fastest I've not a doubt') both suggest that the present series was published in Britain. If this is the case then London seems the most likely city of origin for this excellent series. The Washington Race Course was established in 1735 and until its sale in 1900 was the oldest race track in the world. The South Carolina Jockey Club Spring and Fall race meetings here were one of the highlights of the Charleston season. The first day's races were run in four, the second in three and the third in two-mile heats. On the disbanding of the South Carolina Jockey Club, the piers from the entrance of the Washington Race Course were given to Belmont Park, New York, where they still stand today. The proceeds from the sale of the course were passed to the Charleston Library Society for use as an acquisition fund which is still known as the 'Jockey Club Fund'. Unrecorded. Not in any of the standard bibliographies.