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A race outside White Horse, East Bergholt

A race outside the White Horse Inn at Baker's End


This pencil sketch depicting the White Horse Inn was amongst five drawings from sketchbook of 1812.

Three of the sketches are studies of the East Bergholt annual fair, the remaining two are of the White Horse Inn which is today a private residence.

The White Horse Inn was well suited for sporting events given its convenient location on the edge of the heath with the road lead to Golding Constable's mill in the centre of the heath, which at the time was uncultivated and available to commoners for grazing and recreation.

This scene seems to represent the concluding stages of a donkey race, the second a crowd of joyous people accumulated outside the Inn in a rather disorderly manner.

Interestingly it is thought that the two objects hanging high above the crowd at the end of the pole from the sign of the inn are a pennant flying in the wind.  At the time it was the custom in many towns and villages to parade around the streets with an enormous wooden or stuffed glove to indicate that the fair was open and that traders from outside could legally enter with their merchandise, which may be the case here. It is unclear why this display should be at Baker’s End, almost a half mile from the fair itself.

Private Collection


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