With the Grand National recently passed and Ascot only a few weeks away, we found it more than fitting to highlight one of our horse racing-inspired pocket squares. Therefore, our latest product focus will be looking at the beautiful Before the Race Silk Pocket Square by French Impressionist artist Edgar Degas.
Did You Know? The Queen of England has owned many successful racehorses. Queen Elizabeth is a famous horse lover and avid horse racing fan. Over the years, she has owned many racehorses, which have brought her more than 1,600 wins.
Explore Further: Before The Race By Degas Pocket Square
BEHIND THE PAINTING
Throughout his lifetime, Degas created numerous works of art inspired by equestrian themes, and they were a favourite subject of his. Degas began admiring horses while visiting friends in Normandy, and throughout his career, it is reported that he created 45 oils, 20 pastels, 250 drawings, and 17 sculptures related to horses.
This piece is one of three paintings with the same title, painted in the early 1880s. Having been inspired by a visit to several racing studs, Degas focused on the movement and colours of jockeys and horses before the race, presenting the scene as if capturing a passing moment.
When this piece was painted, Degas was reported to have a full-sized stuffed horse in his studio. As a result, this version of the painting is part of the collection of The Walters Art Museum, where it currently resides.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Edgar Degas, born in Paris 1834, was a French Impressionist artist famous for his pastel drawings and oil paintings.
Degas began to paint early in life. By the time he graduated from the Lycée with a baccalauréat in literature in 1853, he had even turned a room in his home into an artist's studio. In 1858, while staying with his aunt's family in Naples, he made the first studies for his early masterpiece, The Bellelli Family.
After the war, Degas returned to Paris in 1873, and his father died the following year, leaving Degas with enormous business debts. To preserve his family's reputation and pay off the debts, Degas sold his house and an art collection he had inherited.
Now dependent on sales of his artwork for income, he produced much of his most significant work during the decade beginning in 1874. He soon joined a group of young artists organising an independent exhibiting society. The group soon became known as the Impressionists.
Between 1874 and 1886, the group mounted eight art shows, known as the Impressionist Exhibitions. Degas took a leading role in organising the exhibitions and showed his work in all but one of them, despite his persistent conflicts with others in the group. He had little in common with Monet and the other landscape painters in the group, whom he mocked for painting outdoors.
After 1890, Degas's eyesight, which had long troubled him, deteriorated further, which reduced the number of paintings he could complete. However, he is known to have been working in pastel and sculptures as late as 1910 but ceased working in 1912. He died five years later, aged 83.
FIVE MAJOR UK HORSE RACES TO MARK IN YOUR DIARIES
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The highlight of the Cheltenham Festival, the Gold Cup sits at the pinnacle of jump racing, both in terms of prestige and prize money as it is the most valuable non-handicap chase in the UK.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious steeplechase found anywhere in the world, and is the cream of British and Irish staying chasers. During the Cheltenham Festival last year, more than 135,000 people used the Cheltenham Spa train station over the four days.
Probably the most recognised race to even non-sporting fans. This is the race that is usually the hardest to pick a winner from, due to the field size and tenuous nature of the course.
The Grand National is run over an incredible distance of almost four miles and four furlongs, with 30 fences to jump around the National Course at Aintree, twice.
Known simply as The Derby, this is Britain’s richest horse race and the most highly regarded of the five Classics of the flat season and is the middle leg of the Triple Crown. Open to three-year-old colts and fillies, it is raced over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards.
The first ever Epsom Derby took place in 1780, making the event over 240 years old. The 1913 Epsom Derby is also known as the 'Suffragette Derby' because suffragette Emily Davison was sadly killed when she ran out in front of King George V's horse.
The Gold Cup stands proudly as the showpiece event of Royal Ascot week and is the world’s premier race for horses that are specialists over long distances. Modern tradition has scheduled the race for the middle day of the meeting, when fashion and glamour that is so synonymous with the Royal meeting reaches its peak.
Not to be confused with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Ascot version is a flat race aimed at ‘stayers’, hence the distance of two miles and four furlongs.
St. Leger Stakes
Established in 1776, the St Leger is the oldest of Britain's five Classics. It is the last of the five to be run each year, and its distance is longer than any of the other four. It is run at Doncaster over a distance of 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 115 yards.
The race was established by Colonel Barry Saint Leger in 1776 and was named for him two years later. The first horse to do the Derby St. Leger double was in 1800 and was aptly named Champion.
EXPLORE HOW TO FOLD THIS POCKET SQUARE
The Before The Race Pocket Square is the perfect outfit builder due to its versatility and landscape based background, creating a neutral palette. The highlighter pops of pastel and water colours adds texture within the print that can totally transform the look of a jacket.
How you fold a pocket square determines whether it adds a subtle accent, or can be a flamboyant addition of colour, which becomes the focal point of your outfit.
We have created a step-by-step visual guide on our website to help guide you in your pocket square folding adventure. Additional, below are three images of the different types of folds you can use with our Before The Race Pocket Square.
Read Further: How to Fold Your Pocket Square Guide
If you prefer visuals over written text, then you are in luck as our YouTube channel has a dedicated Pocket Square Fold Series covering all the classic folds you can use on this pocket square and any others within our collection.
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