Silver and onyx horse racing sculpture for the Maharaja of Rajpipla

By Mappin & Webb (British, founded 1775)


Commissioned by the Maharaja of Rajpipla, the impressive sculpture by Mappin and Webb immortalises the victory of the Maharaja’s horse at the 1934 Derby.


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This spectacular silver and onyx equestrian sculpture was crafted in 1935 by Mappin and Webb, the renowned English silver makers. Commissioned by H.H. Maharaja of Rajpipla Vijaysinhji Chhatrasinhji G.B.E. K.C.S.I. (1890-1951) the sculpture portrays the Maharaja’s horse winning the 1934 Epsom Derby. The Maharaja commissioned Mappin and Webb to craft this sculpture in the same year as the victory, but due to the very time-consuming crafting process, he received it 12 months later. When finished the sculpture was of such high quality that it was displayed at numerous exhibitions.

The silver sculpture showcases the best three horses with their jockeys galloping to the finish line at the 1934 Derby. The first is the Maharaja’s horse called Windsor Lad (nr 14). He was trained by Marcus Maskell Marsh and won the Derby on 7 June 1934 in two minutes and thirty-four seconds, equalling the previous year’s record. The Times of India reported that ‘By winning the Newmarket Stakes and the Derby, Windsor Lad has performed a feat which very few have done before – only eight others have done it since 1899’. The two horses behind Windsor Lad are Easton (nr 18) as well as Colombo (nr 7), who has been the favourite and never lost a race before.

The artists and craftsmen at Mappin and Webb did an exceptional job in ensuring the scene is portrayed in a very realistic manner. Attention has been paid to the smallest of details, for example, the horses’ muscles, veins or hair texture. The animals’ tails are flowing behind them demonstrating the speed at which they were racing. The jockeys are superbly cast, their body postures and facial expressions portraying the complete focus required during a race. The depiction of the running horses is very animated and ensures the sculpture showcases a momentous moment frozen in time.

Behind the protagonists is gating with the finishing post, crossing which meant the victory of the Maharaja’s horse. The base is finely textured to simulate the grass on which the majestic animals were racing.

The silver scene stands on a stepped onyx plinth. The natural colouration of the stone in shades of green, orange, and cream adds to the impressive quality of the antique. A silver plaque is mounted in the centre of the plinth, the inscription reading: 'WINDSOR LAD WINNING THE DERBY STAKES 1934/ FROM EASTON & COLOMBO/ RIDDEN BY C. SMIRKE/ TRAINED BY M. MARSH/ OWNERS/ H. H. THE MAHARAJA OF RAJPIPLA'.

This English masterpiece is fully marked.

Soon after the sculpture was finished and presented to the Maharaja, in November 1935 The Times published an article which stated ‘Mappin and Webb, Oxford Street...have just completed an unusual silver trophy for the Maharajah of Rajpipla. It shows the finish of the Derby in 1934, with Windsor Lad winning, and is a most realistic and beautiful piece of modelling. The infinite trouble and patience needed to get the exact expressions of both horses and jockeys and to reproduce their characteristic movements has resulted in a unique piece which should prove a treasured memento to the Maharajah, who at the time owned this unbeaten three-year-old.’

The Maharaja of Rajpipla was an accomplished horse rider and polo player. He has successfully bred and owned many horses, the Windsor Lad being one of the most accomplished. He was a friend of the British Royal family. During the Second World War, he donated three Spitfires, and one of them was named after the 1934 Derby winner.

Of an impressive size and with a very important provenance, this sculpture would be a unique addition to the collection of anyone interested in horses.


Commissioned by H.H. Maharaja of Rajpipla, Vijaysinhji Chhatrasinhji G.B.E. K.C.S.I. from Mappin and Webb Limited in 1934, then by descent until December 2012, when acquired by the previous owner.


- A. Watson, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 'Rapier on Racing', 22 November 1935, pp. 386, illustrated.
- The Times, 'Round the Shops', 18 November 1935, p. 21, column d.


Artist / Maker
By Mappin & Webb (British, founded 1775)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 20th Century
Animal / Animalier, Equestrian / Horses, Sporting
Onyx, Silver
Green, Silver


39 cm / 15.4 inches
62 cm / 24.4 inches
33 cm / 13 inches


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