“Engraved by John Jones Engraver Extraordinary to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, & Principal Engraver to H.R.H. the Duke of York”.
Bottom reads: “This extraordinary character was born in the Reign of King Charles the First, when the Sports of Horse Racing commenced at Newmarket, and he was owner of the celebrated Horse Dragon, whose Portrait appears in a Frame in the Back Ground. The most remarkable event in the lives of this Gentleman & his Horse Dragon, is most pathetically depicted by Dr. John Hawkesworth (in No. 37 of the Adventurer) in the following words, supposed to be spoken by the Horse in the Elysium of Beasts and Birds. ‘It is true,’ replied the Steed ‘I was a favourite: but what avails it to be the favourite of caprice, avarice, and barbarity. My tyrant was a Man who had gained a considerable fortune by play, particularly by racing. I had won him many large sums, but being at length excepted out of every match, as having no equal, be regarded even my excellece with malignity, when it was no longer subservient to his interest. Yet I still lived in ease and plenty; and as he was able to sell even my pleasures, though my labour was [sic] become useless, I had a seraglio in which there was a perpetual succession of new beauties. At last, however, another competitor appeared. I enjoyed a new triumph by anticipation; I rushed into the field, panting for the conquest; and the first heat I put my master in possession of the stakes, which amounted to 1000 guineas. Mr. ___ the proprietor of the mare that I had distanced, notwithstanding this disgrace, declared with great zeal, that she should run the next day aainst any gelding in the world for double the sum: my master immediately accepted the challenge, and told him, that he would the next day produce a gelding that should beat her: but what was my astonishment and indignation, when I discovered that he most cruelly and fraudulently intended to qualify me for this match upon the spot: and to sacrifice my life at the very moment in which every nerve should be strained in his service. As I knew it would be in vain to resist, I suffered myself to be bound: the operation was performed, and I was instantly mounted and spurred on to the goal. Injured as I was, the love of glory was still superior to the desire of revenge: I determined to die as I had lived, without an equal; and having again won the race, I sunk down at the post in an agony, which soon after put an end to my life.”
Mezzotint with light foxing, collector’s stamp to lower right corner, mounted on board with descriptive title at bottom.
Stock ID: 68748