Catalogue entry

T02360 CHANGING HORSES TO A POST-CHAISE OUTSIDE THE ‘GEORGE’ POSTING HOUSE ?c.1830–40

Oil on canvas, 21 × 30 (53.5 × 76)
Presented by Mr Paul Mellon KBE through the British Sporting Art Trust 1979
Prov: ...; anon. sale, Phillips Son & Neal, 15 May 1962 (27, as ‘English 19th Century School: Coaching scene...’) bt. Sabin Galleries, from whom purchased by Paul Mellon 1963.
Lit: Egerton, 1978, p.330, no.364, repr. pl.115b.

Post-chaises were owned by inn-keepers who hired them out, with horses and post-boys, to people who wished to travel privately rather than by stage-coach; they were usually second-hand gentlemen's carriages, painted yellow. The post-boys (usually in fact men) customarily wore yellow or blue jackets, leather breeches, top boots ‘and beaver hats in which they kept all their possessions’ (Marilyn Watney, The Elegant Carriage, 1961, pp.75–6).

An inn sign, painted with a representation of St. George and the Dragon and lettered ‘Posting House’, spans the road on a gallows. Cooper Henderson may have had the George Inn at Crawley in mind for this scene. Certainly it had (and still has) such a gallows sign, but early nineteenth-century engravings of the inn show it as a different and considerably older building.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981