Royal Ascot, despite press concentration on its parade of frocks and funny hats, is one of the world’s greatest sporting events, highlight of the British flat racing season, a favourite with the Royals. The racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, a fanatical follower of the hunt. She discovered the open heath, an ideal racecourse, one day while out riding near Windsor Castle.
Osborne Studio Gallery has been established since 1986. It is London’s leading gallery for equestrian painting and sculpture, with a particular focus on the racing world.
Geoffrey Hughes grew up listening to the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s racing commentaries on the BBC. As a boy it transported him to ‘a much bigger, more interesting world’ At six or seven years old, he says: ‘my twin brother and I would race around the school playground pretending to be jockeys.’
The ‘Voice of Racing’ Sir Peter O’Sullevan, became a close friend, and on his retirement, Chairman of Osborne Studio Gallery. When Sir Peter died in 2015, Geoffrey took charge of his vast collection of memorabilia, even living in his flat to organise the mountains of paper. The gallery put on an exhibition of Sir Peter’s favourite artwork, and personal ephemera, including letters from HM The Queen and HRH The Queen Mother, even race cards, scribbled with eloquent asides.
‘Celebrating the Turf’ with its galaxy of front runners, will be one of Osborne Studio Gallery’s most important shows this year.