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Mr Arthur Yates 'Arthur'

Cloister (Sir Charles Garden Duff) (1852-1914)



Watercolour and bodycolour

13 ½ x 9 ½ inches

Vanity Fair, 11 January 1900, Men of The Day no 770, 'Arthur'

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 139

'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 67

Born into a family of seed merchants in Lancashire, Arthur Yates (1841-1926) was sent to New Zealand at the age of 18 for his health. He opened a small seed shop in Auckland before settling in Sydney, Australia in 1888. In 1893, Yates launched a profitable range of packet seeds and two years later published a gardening book, Yates' Gardening Guide for Australia and New Zealand: Hints for Amateurs. By 1896 his business had become the largest of its kind in the colonies and he regularly travelled to England and Europe in search of quality seeds, whilst maintaining close ties with his father’s business in Manchester.

“Born nearly nine-and-fifty years ago, it has been said that the saddle was his cradle; and almost as soon as he could play at horses in the nursery he could ride them at a fence. At ten, indeed, he hunted a pack of harriers; and while still a boy he did the same by his father's staghounds in Hampshire. At nineteen he owned a bloodhorse in Playman; given him by that fine old sportsman who is now called Lord Brampton, yet is still better known as Sir Henry Hawkins. With his ‘owner up’ Playman won races, and his owner took to racing. Since then he has won an enormous number of steeplechases; for four years he was at the head of the gentlemen riders; he nearly won the Grand National on his own Harvester; and he has since trained that great winner of the same race, Mr. C. G. Duff's Cloister; who won the big steeplechase seven years ago in a walk, in what is still record time, and with a then record weight of twelve stone seven pounds. He now weighs sixteen stone, yet is he one of the best of trainers who owns the biggest steeplechase stable in the country. He once trained a winner for the Duke of Connaught; and his clients include most Officers who race. He is very fond of animals, his aviaries are full of rare birds, he keeps many deer, he is a capital shot, a good host, and a very popular fellow.

He is a gentleman whom his friends know as ‘Arthur’.”

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