13 | John F. Herring Sr.<br>  <i>(British, 1795–1865)</i><br><br>ATTILA<br>$25,000. – $35,000.<br><br><strong>Reserve Not Attained<br><br><a href="https://thesportingartauction.com/make-an-offer/" style="color:rgb(255,0,0)">Make Offer</a></strong>

Oil on canvas, 28” x 36”

Signed, inscribed, dated

$25,000. – 35,000.


Attila was a bay horse foaled in 1839. Bred by Colonel Hancox, he was later owned by Colonel George Anson, who accepted the colt as payment for a £200 debt. Anson was a prominent racehorse owner in mid-19th-century Britain as well as a Whig politician. After acquiring Attila, Anson sent the horse into training with John Scott, who trained 40 classic winners from his stables in North Yorkshire.

Attila began his career with an impressive run of six successive wins. The final race of this streak was the 1842 Epsom Derby, which he won by two lengths “with the most perfect ease imaginable.” It was reported that Anson won more than £12,000 in bets in addition to the £4,900 purse. Perhaps these earnings inspired Anson to have not only Herring paint Attilla, but John Ferneley (another leading artist of the time) as well.


After his Derby victory, Attila raced a few more times, with limited success and was retired to stud at 5. He spent a season covering mares in France, where he produced winners of the 1850 Prix du Jockey Club and Prix de Diane. These horses were sadly the only chance Attilla had to prove himself as a stallion. On his return voyage to England, the boat encountered rough seas and Attila panicked. He landed in England with significant injuries and died shortly thereafter.