Rough Sport in Yo-Semite by James David Smillie

Rough Sport in Yo-Semite by James David Smillie

Rough Sport in Yo-Semite

James David Smillie

Title

Rough Sport in Yo-Semite

 
Artist
Year
1886  
Technique
etching 
Image Size
9 3/8 x 15 3/8" image; 9-7/8 x 15-3/4" platemark 
Signature
unsigned 
Edition Size
 
Annotations
inscribed in plate: J Smillie Jan. 7 '86 / Op. 36 
Reference
JDS20; W40; illustrated in Witthoft on page 145 
Paper
heavy, ivory J. Whatman wove with partial watermark 
State
 
Publisher
artist 
Inventory ID
BC153 
Price
$3,500.00 
Description

The third of three etchings Smillie did of an event he witnessed in Yosemite in 1871 and wrote about in Picturesque America. This image is based on a drawing he did for the publication, illustrated on page 482.

Brucia Wittoft writes in the catalog raisonne, page 111:

"JDS first portrayed the subject in William Cullen Bryant's Picturesque America, Vol I (1872) pp. 463-495. The only artist to write his own descriptive essay in these famous volumes, Smillie had struggled with the word but his numerous illustrations flowed easily from his 1871 store of sketches in pen and oil. 'Horse Racing', depicted at the bottom of page 482, was a rough and ready Sunday entertainment. Smillie described the affair in detail on pp. 486-88:

'There were no saddles; the riders...rode with only a sheepskin or a bit of blanket under them...The word was given; the horses plunged, started, 'bucked';...An unlimited amount of profanity expressed the impatience of the crowd...At last they came...a cloud of dust, rattling hoofs, and frantic riders plying their whips...the crowd capering, screaming and 'hollerin' like so many madmen.'"

The horse races were wagered on heavily and the riders were tied to the horses which could be fatal if a horse stumbled. Note that the last rider in the group appears to be the artist.