Horse racing has always been one of Britain’s most popular spectator sports. Portraits of these turf stars by artists such as George Stubbs held prominent positions on the walls of country houses and winnings were displayed as glittering trophies on sideboards. Indeed, horse racing attracted the full spectrum of British class and society who went to the races to gamble and socialise, to plot and scheme, and to flirt and fight. In his richly-illustrated lecture, Oxford historian Dr. Oliver Cox, will talk about the long history of horses and the English country house, as well as describe horse racing in England from the first years of royal patronage under King James I at Newmarket, through to our present Queen’s love of the turf. He will lead the audience on a tour of some of Britain’s grandest country houses, with stops at the iconic sporting spectacles of The Derby, Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival. Looking beyond the top hats and fascinators, this lecture will explore the roots of the British love for horses and horse racing while showing great houses, from Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland to Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.
Co-sponsored by The Royal Oak Foundation, the American membership affiliate of the National Trust of England, Wales and N. Ireland.
About Dr. Oliver Cox
Dr. Oliver Cox is a member of the Faculty of History, and a Heritage Engagement Fellow at the University of Oxford, where he is responsible for developing strategic partnerships with the UK and international heritage sector. Oliver is co-lead of the Oxford University Heritage Network, and part of the team delivering the university’s strategic partnership with the National Trust. Oliver has recently acted as a historical advisor to Chatsworth House Trust.