American Racehorse - January/February 2015

Page 28

Edward Troye:

America’s Equine Artist

First celebrated and then nearly forgotten, the painter’s work lives on By Annie Johnson

Two exhibitions at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia, celebrate the oeuvre of acclaimed antebellum animal painter Edward Troye (1808–1874) and the two 20th-century sportsmen who returned him to his former glory through their works: Edward Troye and His Biographers: The Archives of Harry Worcester Smith and Alexander Mackay-Smith and Faithfulness to Nature: Paintings by Edward Troye. Troye is shown here in a print of a photo portrait taken by W.R. Phipps of Lexington, Kentucky, and presented to Keene Richards in 1872. National Sporting Library & Museum, Harry Worcester Smith Archives



Like the Thoroughbred champions of the turf whom he immortalized in oil, Edward Troye was the foremost animal painter and sporting artist of 19th-century America. His work was unmatched by American artists, and the Swissborn originally named Edouard de Troy, himself of French descent, was regarded as a peer of the European greats. In 1839, during the first decade of his U.S.-based career, the Spirit of the Times called Troye “the finest animal painter since [George] Stubbs,” the preeminent British sporting artist of the previous century, and throughout Troye’s lifetime, racing journals referred to him as “the Landseer of America” after his British contemporary, animal painter Sir Henry Edwin Landseer. In 1832, just one year following his arrival in the United States, the 24-year-old Troye landed his first commissions for Thoroughbred portraiture with owner John Charles Craig of Philadelphia. Troye painted Craig’s lionhearted racemare Trifle, by Sir Charles, who in the portrait is accompanied by jockey Willis, trainer William Alexander and an unidentified groom. Despite her diminutive size of 14 ¾ hands, at age three, Trifle won six of 11 races. To compete in three of these races, she had traveled more than 500 miles from Baltimore to South Carolina, where she won two of three starts over the Charleston and Columbia tracks. Trifle was unyielding in the last year of her career, winning 12 straight Jockey Club purses between September 1833 and October 1834. At the time of her retirement in the fall of 1834 at age six, she had amassed 19 wins in 25 races—most of which were at four-mile heats—and had placed second once. “Trifle, we regard, as a phenomenon,” the American Turf

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.