John Chapman’s A Plan of the Town of Newmarket, dated March 31, 1787, is of primary interest for a key that lists the stables owned by ‘Noblemen & Gentlemen’, many of them important figures in the history of the Turf.
This is a second version of this 22 x 18in (55 x 45cm) print that was first issued by local mapmaker Chapman in c.1768.'
The original plates were sold along with the rest of Chapman’s stock-in-trade after his widow’s death in 1784 when they were acquired by the Charing Cross printer William Faden, who reissued them with a few alterations.
The picture lower left of the famous racehorse Eclipse was added (the undefeated thoroughbred had in fact retired in 1771 and was out to stud) while the list of aristocratic stable owners was updated.
That it is headed by the Prince of Wales dates the print to the period 1787-91. It was in 1791 that the Jockey Club accused the prince’s jockey of race fixing after he pulled up his horse Escape in one race in order to secure favourable odds in another. To avoid further scandal the prince sold all his racehorses.
The maps are frequently mentioned in histories of both Newmarket and the Turf, but few copies of either the 1768 or the 1787 editions of A Plan of the Town of Newmarket have appeared for sale before.