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Woven on silk:-
Printed at bottom of card-mount:-
cm deep by cm wide
The subject, normally mounted on card C2 - but later examples occur - is first mentioned on label 21+10+2 of early 1887 in the following manner: 'Just Published. Fred Archer (In leading Owners' Colours)'. This, the first sporting portrait issued, was soon followed by those of other jockeys - Tom Cannon, John Osborne, C. Wood - and other sporting personalities. All originally sold at sixpence each.
Fred Archer is found wearing the colours of various well-known owners of the period, as listed below. Different types of descriptive back-label occur - the first, of 1887, listing at the bottom, in paragraph form, only Lord Falmouth, Mr Manton (a pseudonym used by the Duchess of Montrose), and the Duke of Westminster, with their distinctive colours. A slightly later label includes the colours of 'Mr Peck' after those of the Duke of Westminster. The names of these four owners are given in the early Stevens advertisements of December 1886 and January 1887. A different version of the descriptive label - later than the first two mentioned, as it includes the additional names 'Prince of Wales' and 'Mr. T. Jennings, jnr.' (included in the February 1887 trade advertisement) - lists the owners' names only, arranged in two columns, without detailing the particulars of their racing colours. With this version, an owner's name was often applied by means of a rubber stamp at the very base of the standard label in the form:
The different owners' colours were as listed below, in the probable order of their first issue, but it should be noted that in other respects the portrait and the card-mount remain the same. There is only one slight difference: on some examples the signature of Fred Archer is not woven at the bottom right corner of the silk.
§83 [the silk above] LORD FALMOUTH'S COLOURS. Black body (to jacket), white sleeves, red cap.
In one version the colours are all cream, or a silvery-grey, perhaps relating to its owner, Captain Christie.
Fred Archer may be found in other colours, those of unrecorded owners. Such examples are, of course, rare. The silks are very prone to fading, so that much care must be used in identifying the different owners' 'colours'.