John Sinclair (British, 1872-1922)
Oil on canvas, 53" x 84"
The image above depicts the King's Stand at Royal Ascot as recorded in an etching by James Pollard in 1822. The original drawing was given to the British Museum by Arthur Du Cane in 1933 along with a large collection of Pollard's original etchings and drawings. John Sinclair transformed Pollard's etching into this large, spirited painting which captures the horses and jockeys as they reach the winning post. Pollard captured the frenzied crowd in the grandstand and the royal patrons as they took in the Ascot races from the King's Stand, a precursor to the Royal Enclosure that henceforth has become a permanent fixture at the Ascot Heath races. The history surrounding the conception and construction of the King's Stand is a sordid affair, as are many of the accounts that accompany the reign of King George IV. King George IV began to set his mark as sovereign upon his reign and its pleasures. Ascot received the Royal attention and the man whose taste was so splendidly elegant and whose morals were so gross, brought to Ascot the atmosphere which sets it apart from all other racecourses. First, he had constructed for himself a new Royal box designed by architect than John Nash�responsible for Buckingham Palace, Regent Street and the Nash Terrace of Regents Park. The New Stand was described in The Sporting Magazine as: These races have for many years been distinguished above all others in the kingdom by the immediate patronage and presence of the Sovereign; hence forward however they will be still more identified with Royalty by the erection of a Royal Stand a substantial building of brick and stone calculated to endure for ages, this regal sporting box has been erected immediately opposite to the grand stand. It is a square stuccoed building of two stories and each story is divided into two apartments. One of these is elegantly furnished for the use of his Majesty and the Royal family the other is also handsomely furnished for the attendants... The exterior of the building in front has a handsome appearance. The basement story is of stucco rusticated horizontally and from this springs a series of fluted stone columns of the Doric order supporting a remarkably ponderous entablature and parapet which enclosing the flat leaded roof forms a stand capable of containing nearly a hundred persons. The interstices between the columns are filled up with light sashes so that two sides of each upper apartment are entirely window and afford an admirable view of the whole course. These windows were hung with spotted muslin draperies which gave a light and elegant appearance to the whole. The stand is very pleasantly situated as independent of the attractions of the passing scene the front has a very fine look over a beautiful wood land and picturesque country. It was completed in the short space of five weeks by Mr. Perkins, the clerk of the works and able assistants under the architectural direction of Mr. Nash.