Captain Cornish, 1854

by Thomas Walker Bretland

Thomas Walker Bretland was a British 19th Century painter who was born in Nottingham in 1820. His father owned and ran a carriage and coach business, which he joined in 1816 as an apprentice where he excelled. Bretland started sketching at an early age with his sole ambition to train and be an artist.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 9.8 x 11.8 ins/ 24.8 x 30.0 cm
SIGNATURE:Signed, dated 1854 and inscribed ‘Captain Cornish, 1854, Ridden by J. H. Peart Senr’
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5912 Categories: ,

Captain Cornish was a chestnut colt by Lago. In 1853 under the ownership of the breeder Mr. William l’Anson, of Spring Cottage, Malton, the three year old thoroughbred placed second three times – in the Carnival Handicap at Malton with Oliver up, the Sweepstakes at Ripon with Chilman in the irons and the Dundas Handicap at York with Chilman up. That season he also won the Brocklesby Stakes piloted by Chilman at Lincoln. In 1854 he won the Malton Handicap with Wells up listed under the ownership of G B Cornish, who is known to have shared ownership with l’Anson. The jockey in the present work is wearing l’Anson’s colours of straw and green and by the inscription is identified as J H Peart, a jockey active during the mid 1850’s, possibly at the Nottingham racecourse.

Private collection, United Kingdom

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Thomas Walker Bretland was a British 19th Century painter who was born in Nottingham in 1820. His father owned and ran a carriage and coach business, which he joined in 1816 as an apprentice where he excelled. Bretland started sketching at an early age with his sole ambition to train and be an artist.

The artist married Nancy Ingham and supplemented his income on receipt of commissions for horse portraits. His father died in 1840 and Bretland passed the family business into the hands of his brother. This enabled him to concentrate on painting; he had many important patrons including the Dukes of Buccleuch and Montrose, Baron Rothschild, Lord Chesterfield and Lord Middleton.

Nancy passed away in 1843 leaving two daughters. From this point Thomas travelled widely, painting commissions in Ireland, Scotland and extensively across England.

Bretland married again in 1852 to Emma and they had a further five children. They moved to Nottingham where he was influenced by John Ferneley Senior. Many of Bretland’s works were privately commissioned. His work is consistently of a  high quality and remains highly collected. His paintings are also held in the Nottingham Art Gallery.

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