"Tally-Ho!" Illustration from Georgina Bowers's Hollybush Hall, showing the beginning of the hunt. Source: Bowers, Plate VIII. In this light-hearted picture-book or indeed art-book for adults, the hunt is not just about the activities of the houseguests at the Hall, but about the "rather promising filly" Maud, and who will successfully catch her fancy.

Bowers excelled in the kind of scene shown above, with horses in motion being managed by their riders with varying degrees of skill. The humour is subtle, in fact it is hard to say what is funny about it. But there is a comical element all the same. Bowers's text here is similar — dead-pan in its comments, with a teasing undertone:

"NOTHING like getting a good start," says keen Lord Curragh, throwing away his cigarette. So thinks Mr. Weather of Croppington, who has viewed the fox as he left the gorse.

Sir Hector has got out of the wood by a bridle-gate, followed by his niece on the "Tartar," very fresh.

Charlie Cleve is forward on "Phantom," and Nevill Hawke behind, having, as usual, something wrong with his stirrup-leathers.

During the hunt Maud is accidentally kicked by another horse, a "white-legged chesnut, pulling hard, who swerves in his stride." The rider is the mysterious "Mr Harborough" who apologies so "prettily" that Maud forgives him.... the reader may begin to scent the fox already!

Scanned image and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the image to enlarge it.


Bowers, Georgina. Hollybush Hall, or, Open house in an Open Country. London: Bradbury, Evans, 1871. Internet Archive. Contributed by the Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine. Web. 15 July 2017.

Created 15 July 2017