First Open Ditch by Cecil Aldin


First Open Ditch


Cecil Aldin

Ref GM596
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 Becher’s Brook, The Canal Turn and Valentine’s Brook. The Grand National of 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. The First Open Ditch is the third and nineteenth fence in the Grand National, and is the first major test for most runners. The fence is 5ft tall, but just before it is a 6ft ditch marked by a guard rail. The riders really have to stand off and stretch out to make it safely to the other side. 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.