Driver and horse riding to right in image.
Currier & Ives celebrated the sport of horse-racing through a number of prints and specialized in producing portraits of champion horses, especially those that participated in harness-racing. Many horse owners commissioned artists, such as John Cameron, Scott Leighton and Thomas Worth, to create portraits of their animals like The King of the Turf St. Julien. The print shows the horse in motion, referencing the work of Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), an English photographer who created freeze-frame photographs of animals and humans in motion. Muybridge used photography to prove that there was a moment in a horse’s gallop when all four hooves were off the ground, as can be seen in this print.
Currier & Ives profited from the horse racing craze by selling images of famous races and horses to the American public. Harness racing became a popular pastime in the United States at the end of the 18th century. Initially, horses were raced on country roads and later, tracks for harness racing were constructed. By the mid-19th century, harness racing appeared at hundreds of locations, especially country fairs.