Derby Day is coming soon, on 1 June, and the Bonhams launched an offer that will surely attract fans of Derby. Copy of William Powell Frith masterpiece of Darby Day, estimated at $15,000-$22,000 will be offered for sale at the 19 Century Paintings sale in New Bond Street on 10 July. William Powell Frith’s original painting is in Tate Britain ans was first displayed at the Royal Academy in 1858.
Derby Day comprises of a series of social commentary sketches. Frith was interested in physiognomy and phrenology, seeing the face as ‘a sure index of character’ and class distinction. These stereotypes are plain to see in the faces of the ‘low life’ criminals in contrast to those of the landed gentry.
Until now, painting had been dominated by portraiture commissioned by the rich, or, religious painting commissioned by the church. Derby Day was sold even before it had been finished.
The Derby originated as a new race in Epsom in 1779. The Derby Stakes, popularly known as The Derby, internationally as the Epsom Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in England open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run at Epsom Downs over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards and is scheduled for early June each year. It was to be named after either the host of the event, the 12 Earl of Derby or his important guest, Sir Charles Bunbury. Local legend states that the decision was made by the toss of a coin.