The Golfers: A Grand Match Played Over St Andrews Links by Charles Lees, Circa 1850

This is an original, first edition hand-colored “Proof” steel engraving by Charles E. Wagstaffe, dating to 1850. The engraving is based after the original oil painting by Charles Lees from 1847. Printed by W. Wolding of Edinburgh, this is a rare "proof" depiction of one of the most famous games played in the sport. The Grand Match was played upon the Links of St Andrews in 1841, during the annual meeting of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

Charles Lees’ 1847 painting is the world’s most celebrated piece of art pertaining to the game of golf. In the painting, Lee renders the landscape of golf’s most famous links subservient to the actual game – depicting over 40 figures gathered together to watch a two-ball foursome match pitting Sir David Baird and Sir Ralph Anstruther against Major Hugh Lyon Mayfair and John Campbell. According to accounts of the time Lees was paid 400 pounds sterling to paint The Golfers – recently the original sold to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery for 11 million pounds sterling. From the original, an engraving was done in 1850 – presumably because many of the individuals depicted in the painting wanted a copy of the painting for their homes.

The engraver Charles Wagstaff worked with the Edinburgh publisher Alexander Hill and created an engraved print that numbered 50 titled Artist Proofs, 20 Presentation pieces and 100 First Edition prints – for a total of 170 works. The original AP’s sold for 10 pounds, the presentation pieces for 6 pounds, while the rest of the first edition sold for 3 pounds. Before these prints were made – a number of “Proof” prints were made to ensure the plate and print were ready for production – this being one of those prints. 


Overall good condition. Some toning from age and one repaired tear in the left margin. The tear does not impact the overall appearance of the scene. Framed according to the highest conservation  standards including UV protective glass and acid-free matting.

Framed Size: 38" x 50"

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