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Francis Barlow (c. 1626-1704)

The Last Horse Race Run before Charles the Second [...] 1687

Etching | 36.9 x 51.5 cm | RCIN 602686

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Horse racing was revived following the Restoration and became one of Charles II's passions. The king frequently visited Newmarket and even competed in some of the races, winning the Newmarket Town Plate in 1671 and 1675. Often considered the first racing print, this etching depicts the final race watched by Charles II, at Windsor on 24 August 1684. Published two years after Charles's death, it may be seen as a commentary on the unhappy reign of James II, implicitly contrasting the turmoil of his reign with the light-hearted diversions of his brother's time on the throne. Cat. 203