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Product Code: ALT-01
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Available framed in the UK Only, usually delivered within 7 working days, however please allow up to two weeks at busy times.
We are extremely lucky in having been given permission by the private owner of this lovely painting to reproduce it in a short edition of canvas prints. These prints could be mistaken for the original they are so good.
Skittles, whose real name was Catherine Walters was known as the last great Courtesan. There is actually a blue plaque to her on the home she lived in in South St. Mayfair.
There have been a number of biographies written about her and they do tend to vary a little in detail. However it is certain she was born in Liverpool in 1839 to a relatively poor family. However, it is thought that by helping with horses, whether in a circus or private yard seems to be unclear, but she became a very competent horse woman. It is thought her nick name of Skittles came from the fact that she at one point had a job picking up skittles in a local bar.
Her big break came when the heir to the Duke of Devonshire met and fell for her. He took her to London and installed her in a flat. He supported her and she lived well, with servants and horses. When he tired of her he gave her a pension for the rest of her life. She met other equally wealthy and interesting men many of whom contributed to her very comfortable way of life. She moved in high society circles and was a friend of Bertie, The Prince of Wales. It was said that her greatest quality was her discretion. She became something of a fashion icon, riding in Rotten Row where she was greatly admired but possibly less so by the ladies! She obviously had a tremendous personality to move in the circles she did. She spent some time in Paris where she was as much admired as in London. She met and fell in love with Wilfred Blunt, the poet and diplomat. Athough their affair was brief, he remained her friend and it was he who was responsible for her funeral and interment in the Franciscan cemetry at Crawley.
The horse she is riding in this picture is said to have come second in the Grand National and to have run away with everyone except her. Mind you, she does have a dra rein on the curb which would have been pretty severe!
Edition limited to 25 Canvas prints 18 x 24 ins. (46 x 61 cms. Canvas only £285 Framed £365 If you require an antique style handmade gilt frame, £485 but please allow six weeks for delivery