T. Blake.

The Interior of the Fives Court


The Interior of the Fives Court
with Randall and Turner sparring.
London, W. Sams, 1825.

SKU: 97978 Categories: , Tag:


Third state, the first being produced in 1818, hand-coloured aquatint with etched outline.

A large and important depiction of an exhibition sparring match held in the Fives Court, in London’s Little St. Martin’s Street, a tennis and fives court hired for such events, the participants, unlike a regular, bare-knuckle bout, being fitted with gloves (“mittens” or “mufflers”). The contestants shown were Ned Turner, “The Out-and-Outer”, who had killed a man in the ring, serving time for manslaughter, and Jack Randall, “The Prime Irish Lad”, unbeaten throughout 12 years of ring activity. The two had fought an epic fight in 1818, which Randall won to become the Lightweight champion. A large number of famous pugilists are pictured in the audience, not always accurately; Jem Belcher, the famed champion and the first real sporting celebrity in the modern sense, is shown, although he was dead! It is also a fair portrait of “The Fancy” as the mix of often raffish sporting professionals and upper class spectators, including nobility, came to be known.


Hand coloured aquatint, 520 by 700mm (20½ by 27½ inches), some scattered,, light foxing, only really evident in middle background, otherwise still very bright.


Snelgrove, British Sporting and Animal Prints, p. 48-9, colour plate 5; Siltzer, pp. 319, 320, 325; Wilder, Sporting Prints, p. 178, colour plate p. 179; Magriel, The Ring and the Glove, pp. 17-18


Stock ID: 97978