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A Victorian silver Coaching Horn for the Richmond Driving Club.


The Richmond Driving Club.
A rare Victorian silver Coaching Horn in its presentation case, London 1838, by William Fitchew. The horn engraved : ‘The Marquis of Waterford to his GUARD, J.L.W.’ and with double crest. The stem of the engine-turned horn is also engraved with a spiralling band of coaching scenes within oak leaves, the largest of the coaches with a coat-of-arms on the door and a coachman blowing his horn on top. One of the coachmen on the front is pointing to the horn blower. On the presentation case a silver plaque is engraved with the names ‘J.L. Wellesley‘ above a double crest and ‘12th Royal Lancers.’
The Richmond Driving Club was set up in May 1838, a re-formation of the earlier ‘Four-in-Hand Club’: the club’s president being the Earl of Chesterfield. A list of the aristocratic members and their splendid transport in that year comprised: the Earl of Chesterfield, with a blue and red coach driven by four bays; the Marquis of Waterford, with a brown and red coach and four greys; the Earl of Waldegrave, with a blue and red open barouche and a bay team; the Earl of Sefton, with a dark coloured barouche and bay horses; the Earl of Rosslyn with a dark coloured coach and bay horses; Count Batthyany, the Hungarian nobleman, with a dark blue and white coach and bay team; Viscount Powerscourt, with an open barouche and four greys; Lord Alford, with a dark brown and red coach and bay team; Lord Alfred Paget, with a yellow and blue coach and mixed team; Lord Macdonald, with a dark brown and red coach and mixed team; the Hon. Horace Pitt, a blue and red coach and mixed team; Sir Edward Smythe, Bart., with a dark green coach, three greys and a piebald; Mr. A. W. Hervey Aston, a dark blue and white coach, two bays and two greys; Mr. T. Bernard, a dark brown coach and bay team; Colonel Copeland, with a yellow barouche and four brown horses; Mr. George Payne, with a yellow coach and bay team; Mr. Lewis Ricardo with a dark blue and white coach and bay horses; and Mr. H. Villebois, Junr., with a yellow coach an four bays. Although not on this list of original members, John Warde, of Squerryes in Kent, was apparently also a member and, indeed drove his coach himself, at the age of 84, when his coachman reported sick.
Meeting at Chesterfield House in Westminster, the club would drive down to the George Topham’s new Royal Hotel on the banks of the Thames in Richmond where they dined and drank toasts. The members of the club were to ‘drive like coachmen but to dress like gentlemen.’ According to ‘The Morning Post’ of June 4th, it was agreed that Chesterfield would be termed the “Chief” of the club and that meetings would take place on Saturdays through the season. Each member of the club was allowed to take three guests, except Chesterfield – who might take as many as he wished.
James Pollard painted a view of the new driving club members as they processed through Hyde Park. The view was angraved by J. Harris and published on December 1st 1838 by Ackermann & Co. A copy of the print is held by the British Museum [accession number 1880,1113.1894]. The print was ‘Respectfully dedicated to its distinguished Members’ by the publishers.
The 3rd Marquis of Waterford (1811-1859), was well known for his love of sport and his ‘gentlemanly larks‘: in particular the riot in Melton Mowbray, when a number of doors and a pub sign were daubed with red paint; and his duel with Lord George Loftus – when each exchanged shots without injuring the other. He was also a keen participant in the Eglintoun Tournament as the ‘Knight of the Dragon’.
The Honourable James Long Wellesley (1815-1851), whose father became the 4th Earl of Mornington, was brought up under the guardianship of the Duke of Wellington after his mother died. Wellesley, educated at Eton, joined the 12th Royal Lancers as a cornet in 1833, leaving as a Lieutenant in 1841.

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