image with blue jacket and orange sleeves
The Late Fred Archer - with Blue jacket, orange sleeves and black cap
no signature
image showing effects of fading of the blue jacket and orange sleeves
The Late Fred Archer - with Blue cap and jacket, and orange sleeves


(blue body, orange sleeves, black cap,
no signature)

Reference Number:- Sprake Number:- Godden Number:-
so 46 STG28 not listed
Woven on silk:-

Printed at bottom of card-mount:-


cm deep by cm wide

cm high by cm wide

by Sprake:

by Godden:
This is a silk-woven portrait of the famous jockey facing slightly to the right. Examples normally bear a printed label setting out Fred Archer's career and it is therefore not necessary to repeat these details: but it should be noted that the label gives his date of death, 8 November 1886, and this portrait was therefore issued shortly after this date. In fact, the subject is included in a Stevens trade advertisement dated 21 December 1886. Some examples have a normal back-label listing current Stevengraphs instead of the story-label.

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 [see so24, or so25] LORD FALMOUTH'S COLOURS. Black body (to jacket), white sleeves, red cap.
83a [see so28] MR. MANTON. Scarlet jacket and cap (a rare variation has a green cap)
83b [see so37, or so38] DUKE OF WESTMINSTER. Primrose jacket, black cap
83c [see so41] MR. R. PECK. Blue body, orange sleeves, blue cap
not listed by Godden: [the silk above] MR. Dover. Blue body, orange sleeves, black cap
83d [see so53] PRINCE OF WALES. Royal purple with gold braid body, scarlet sleeves, black cap
83e [see so57] MR. T. JENNINGS. Silver grey jacket, black cap
83f MR. T. JENNINGS. A further variety with the name 'Mr T Jennings Jr' stamped on the back has a pale blue jacket and cap, with straw sleeves (the blue often fades to a silver grey tint)
83g A very rare example, with early label of 1886 or early 1887, has a mauve jacket with black cap
83h Fred Archer is also found wearing a silver grey jacket with primrose sleeves and black cap, this differing from 83f only in the colour of the cap, but this was changed if an owner had two horses in one race. In this case one jockey would wear the full colours, the other a different coloured 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'. 

Other comments:
In the colours of Mr Dover. 

Below is an image of the typical back label. That though incorrectly records these racing colours as being those of Mr Peck. Mr Peck's colours had a BLUE cap, not black.

The Late Fred Archer - Back label with career details

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This page was created on 29 August 2009
new additional image added 4 February 2013. Unfaded image replaced 5 March 2018 © Peter Daws
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