Canterbury's racecourse was on Barham Downs, a few miles outside the city, by the road to Dover.
The Canterbury Races by Thomas Rowlandson, 1804
© The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge
- Watercolour, pen, ink and pencil Dimensions: 32 x 54 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £4,000 ( Total: £25,000)
- Acquired in:
- Richard Green
During its heyday - approximately 1760 to 1820 - the races were a popular fixture in the area's social calendar. The course has now vanished, as has general awareness of its existence. Similarly, there were no views of it known to survive, apart from an engraving of the New Stand on a pair of silver pass tokens, and Rowlandson's picture is clearly a significant work in this context. It has value as a topographical record, confirming and drawing together the various strands of evidence - maps, texts, and the engraved pass tokens. Beyond this it captures a dynamic sense of period and occasion, with an immediacy of appeal.