Chaucer Auctions

Chaucer Auctions press release

Original Frankel legends oil painting to come under the hammer in our online sale on 13th December 2019

Estimate £30000 – 40000

A donation from the proceeds will be made to a Cancer charity by the vendor.

Chaucer are delighted to announce the sale of a sought after painting of the legendary horse, Frankel by artist Nichola Eddery. The painting which measures 36.5 x 72.5 inches is currently on loan and displayed at the National Horseracing Museum, Place House Newmarket. Known as the National Heritage Centre For Horseracing & Sporting Art. This can be viewed 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday and Sunday 11am – 4pm in main reception building.

This fine painting came from the late Sir Henry Cecil’s wish to see his legendary champion Frankel painted in oils in the style of George Stubbs, this has now been achieved by equine artist Nichola Eddery. Sir Henry Cecil visited Michael Jeffery’s studio to discuss the early stages of the project. Both gentlemen were at the time in substantial cancer treatments and tragically both succumbed to cancer before completion. Sponsor Peter Merchant subsequently asked internationally-renowned equine artist Nichola Eddery for her advice about retrieving the project and it was agreed that she would renew the idea. Nichola was given access to all of Jeffery’s notes, sketches, photography and preliminary oil-work. She was also granted permission to visit Frankel to take her own reference.

She has named the completed painting ‘Legends’ to encompass horse, trainer and George Stubbs himself. Her recreation of Frankel’s 2,000 Guineas features travelling head lad Michael McGowan, stable lad Sandeep Guavaram, Frankel himself, jockey Tom Queally, trainer Sir Henry Cecil and the runners from the race (in order from left to right: 2nd Dubawi Gold, 3rd Native Kahn, 4th Slim Shadey, 5th Fury and Frankel’s pacemaker Rerouted) in the Stubbs setting of Newmarket Heath with the Rubbing Down House as a background. This 72.5x 36.5” Oil-on-canvas finished piece turns the project full-circle.

The sale will be held online at The Saleroom, Invaluable and Live Auctioneers. Follow the links from our website You can register and leave bids online, bid live on the day or leave us commission bids to place for you or indeed bid live by telephone on the day. Call Auctioneer Mark Jennings, Lisa or Andy on 0800 1701314 or email us at

The story of the charity Frankel project

Legends Oil On Canvas At The Rubbing Down House

Frankel the Legendary Horse

Sir Henry Cecil the Legendary Trainer

2000 Guineas the Legendary Race

Rowley Mile the Legendary Race Course

The legendary racehorse Frankel was unbeaten in his fourteen-race career and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world from May 2011. Many equine artists and photographers worldwide clamoured to record his achievements for posterity.

In 2010 a renowned equine artist called Michael Jeffery had a vision to immortalise Frankel. At this time Michael became acquainted with Sir Henry Cecil while they were both receiving chemotherapy and this is where the story of the ‘Frankel Project’ began.

When Sir Henry Cecil visited artist Michael Jeffery’s studio to discuss the early stages of his ‘Frankel Project’, he was impressed by his two visions: firstly, that Jeffery was to pay homage to George Stubbs’ famous 1765 painting, ‘Gimcrack on the Newmarket Heath’, where Michael envisioned a composition using Frankel against a rubbing-down house, with his trainer Sir Henry, Jockey Tom Queally, travelling head lad, stable lad and a background of Frankel’s rivals. Secondly, he fully supported Jeffery’s wish to gift a quarter of the sale profits to cancer charities.

Jeffery was most gratified to have Sir Henry’s support and, a few days after Sir Henry & Lady Cecil had visited the studio, Sir Henry arranged for Jeffery to follow Frankel out for his routine exercise on Warren Hill. A week later he arranged a photo-shoot with jockey Tom Queally in his silks, the travelling head lad Michael McGowan and the colt’s stable lad Sandeep Guavaram suited and booted, so that Jeffery could photograph them placed in the positions they would appear in the painting. Jeffery had a model stand-in for Sir Henry, as he was away at this time having treatment. Michael was also given access to photograph Frankel at the races. With all these contributing factors for the development of the project Michael was able to find a sponsor; Peter Merchant, entrepreneur and racing enthusiast.

Tragically Sir Henry and Michael Jeffery didn’t live long enough to see the finished ‘Frankel project’. But renowned equine artist Nichola Eddery was so moved by this story, she decided to take on the challenge of the project, but honouring Michael’s original idea. She also loved the idea of immortalising this story especially due to her strong connection to the famous green and pink silks, as her father Pat Eddery was a retained jockey by HRH Prince Khalid Abdullah (owner of Frankel) for eight years.

Nichola Eddery ( was given Michael's preliminary sketches and photographic reference, but as with any project she preferred to take her own reference that involved visiting and photographing/sketching Frankel, Tom Queally, the rubbing down house and making a copy of the Stubbs’ painting to understand the structure of his composition. She also visited Lady Cecil, as Michael had no reference of Henry, and Jane kindly described how he would have liked to be painted.

Honouring the original layout of Jeffrey’s figures, starting from the figure on the far left is the travelling head lad, Michael McGowan and then to his right is Frankel’s stable lad, Sandeep Guavaram who is holding Frankel after his victorious win of the 2011, 2000 Guineas and then onto the central figures, Jockey Tom Queally and Frankel’s trainer Sir Henry Cecil. Nichola decided to change the horses in the background to walking in after the race rather than galloping in the distance, so the painting was not an exact copy of Stubbs. The five horses to the right in the background are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (Dubawi Gold, Native Kahn, Slim Shady and Fury) and then Rerouted from the 2011, 2000 Guineas. Nichola wanted to convey the obvious connection with the Rowley Mile Racecourse to Frankel winning the 2000 Guineas. It was an incredibly challenging painting, after five months of research, sketching, photographing she was able to combine all her references with her imagination to create 'Legends'. Nichola named the painting 'Legends' after a legendary horse, trainer, race and racecourse.

With the completion of the project, Peter and Nichola now have the opportunity to launch the painting at Newmarket’s new National Horseracing Museum, Place House during the Newmarket 2016 July festival with the intention to sell and raise 25% of the proceeds for National Heritage and Cancer Active. It is a perfect time and venue to exhibit ‘Legends’ especially as the painting will be exhibited within their first art exhibition in the Rothschilds Yard for the celebrations of 350 years of history made at Newmarket; ideal for a painting based on history ade at the Rowley Mile racecourse, Newmarket.

Lady Cecil, Tom Queally and Lord Grimthorpe (racing manager to Frankel’s owner HRH Prince Khalid Abdullah) have already voiced their support and approval before the painting has its first public showing.

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Mark Jennings
Chaucer Auctions
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