Becher's Brook by Cecil Aldin


Becher's Brook


Cecil Aldin

Ref GM597
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 22" x 11" (56 x 29 cm)
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This is one of a set of four views Cecil Aldin painted of the Grand National, which were published by Richard Wyman in 1920. The others in the series are The First Open Ditch, The Canal Turn and Valentine’s Brook. The Grand National in 1920 was a particularly exciting race, in which only five horses finished. The winner was Troytown at 6 to 1, ridden by Mr Jack Anthony and trained by Algy Anthony. Becher’s Brook is negotiated twice at the Grand National, as the sixth fence and as the twenty-second fence. It is named after Captain Becher, who fell there from his mount Conrad in the first Grand National in 1839 and who sheltered in the small brook running along the landing side of the fence while the rest of the field thundered by. As a fence, it is now less fearsome than it was in 1920; many of the more difficult aspects of the fence were removed after the Grand National in 1989. Later in his career, Aldin often sketched from a coach, which he had swapped with a friend, Godfrey Heseltine, in return for a life-size portrait of a heavyweight basset. Thereafter, the Aldins often used the coach as a grandstand at race meetings like the Grand National or Derby, enabling the artist to watch and sketch in peace, high above the crowds.