As Derby Day approaches, we thought it might be fun to travel back in time and across the pond to look at 19th-century engravings of the original race responsible for the creation of the Kentucky Derby and other similar races. The Epsom Derby was (and is) held annually at the Epsom Downs just outside of London, where it began in 1780. These particular images of the Epsom Derby were created by Gustave Doré, a prominent 19th-century French artist and engraver. He first came to prominence in England because of his captivating illustrations in a new English Bible, printed in 1866. The success of this work opened professional doors for Doré in London, and several years later he collaborated with Blanchard Jerrold on a work entitled London: A Pilgrimage (London: Grant & Co., 1873).
To wander the teeming streets of 19th-century London for yourself, race over to Rauner and ask for Illus D73j.