A SELECTION OF PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS, ETCHINGS AND PHOTOS TO DO WITH BAREKNUCKLE BOXING
A PRINT FROM 1792 ENTITLED " SIX STAGES OF MARRING A FACE". THOMAS ROWLANDSON THE BRITISH ARTIST RESPONSIBLE WAS BORN IN JULY 1756, HE STUDIED ART IN PARIS AND THEN 6 YEARS AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY IN LONDON. ALTHOUGH HE STUDIED THE ANATOMY IN HIS STUDIES HE HAD BEEN A BUDDING CARITCATURIST SINCE HIS SCHOOLDAYS, AND PRODUCED AND PUBLISHED MANY SIMILAR PRINTS. WHETHER OR NOT HE HAD ACTUALLY ATTENDED A BAREKNUCKLE FIGHT IS NOT KNOWN BUT MANY OF THE FIGHTERS OF THE TIME HAD FRIENDS FROM THE FANCY WHO WOULD HAVE MIXED IN THE SAME CIRCLES.
This supplement in the New York Illustrated News dated July 20, 1889, recently went for up for $4500.
I've taken this from the Jem Mace website and it shows what Madison square Gardens looked like back in 1883. John L Sullivan thrashed Charlie Mitchell at this great venue the same year on May the 14th which ended in the police stopping the fight in round 3 due to Mitchell being outclassed, he had also been knocked out of the ring the previous round.
The death mask of John L. Sullivan and it shows very little indications that he was a fighter.
Many fighters from the era of Bareknuckle often became publicans after their fighting days were over, although drink often led them down a slippery path. Even the great John L ventured into this and the photo is of his saloon aptly named " John L SULLIVAN", which he ran in New York, situated on 1177 Broadway. The man on the bucking bronco over the doorway is one of Sullivan's fellow entertainers and acquaintances, "Buffalo Bill" William F. Cody.
The "Know Nothing" party was responsible for trying to stop the flow of immigrants to the US in the 1850's, one of its most famous leaders was William Poole also known as Bill the Butcher. At anytime its members were questioned about the party activities they replied I KNOW NOTHING. In later years the party would be referred to as the "American Party"
A photo in the early 1900's of "Gypsy" Jem Mace and the "Professor" Mike Donovan. Donovan holds the distinction of fighting both John L. Sullivan and Jack" The Nonpariel" Dempsey
This respectful looking building on Water Street, New York, was once the venue for many blood-sports including dog fighting, bareknuckle boxing and Rats getting mauled from terriers for the entertainment of the many people who passed through the doors. In 1863, a former member of the infamous "Dead Rabbits" Gang in New York, known locally as Kit Burns purchased the 18th century building and it was... to be known as the "Sportsmen's Hall" . Together with the entertainment offered to the punters including drink and prostitution one of its workforce had a unique job, apart from his role as bouncer, George Leese was employed as a "Bloodsucker" the river pirate and rough and tumble fighter who was also known as Snatchem intervened during Bareknuckle fights and sucked the open wounds from the fighters to prolong the bloody battles which ensued. Often to keep the punters in the building Kit's son in Law known affectionately as "Jack the Rat" would jump into the pit and bite the heads off mice for a dime and rats for Quarter. The Building which was revamped in the 1980's have appaetments selling for over $1 million.
Taken in 1909 in London, Bob Fitzsimmons and Joe Jeanette had an exhibition bout to raise money for the ring legend Jem Mace. Charlie Mitchell on the far left of the photo was the referee for the bout.
Sullivan v Paddy Ryan in Mississippi on the 7th of Feb 1882, for £2500 a side, in the 9th round, lasting around 10 minutes, Sullivan won by a knockout and with it the Championship.
Many of the past Bareknuckle fighters had backers who were rich and famous and even from member of the British Royalty but this painting gave the sport of gloved boxing much credibility and was the first time a royal had entered the ring. The then Prince of Wales who would later become Edward VIII stepped into the ring to show his approval of Jimmy Wildes win over the American Joe Lynch on points over 15 rounds in 1919.
Another original supplement , SULLIVAN, JOHN L v PADDY RYAN POLICE GAZETTE SUPPLEMENT POSTER (1891) again its value is estimated at $4,500
Tom Sharkey and Jim Jeffries placing a wreath by the grave of John L. Sullivan in 1926.
On Feb 25th 1901 the American Jewish fighter Joe Choynski fought Jack Johnson and Ko him in three rounds in Texas , however due to the fact that Choynski was white and Johnson was black they were both arrested and spent time in a cell together.
Even though a big percentage of the olden day Bareknuckle fighters were Butchers by trade another favourite occupation was watermen who furried the passengers up and down the thames. This particular photo was taken in 1896 even though Jack Broughton worked the waters in the 1700's and he even won an annual famous race up the Thames in 1730 called the Doggett's Coat and Badge. The event is the old...est rowing race in the world and still continues today. The race is over 4 mile 4 furlong and started in 1715, in which each year 6 watermen who have just finished their apprenticeship take part for the coveted title . Originally, the race was run against the tide, but since 1873 it has been run with the incoming tide.
Charles Mordaunt who was the Earl of Peterborough at the time of Figg and helped fund Figg's academy as well as his early fighting days and other businesses.
A scene from the epic and controversial fight between The American John Heenan and the Englishman Tom Sayers. It was eventually called a draw after the fight was stopped by police brandishing warrants after the crowd stormed the ring. Regardless as to what would have happened if the fight wasn't stopped both men were awarded belts after their 2 and a half hour scrap. Among the crowd that day in Hampshire, England on the 17th of April 1860, was the prime minister of the time, Charles Dickens and the Prince of Wales.
This is the Plaque erected in Honour of Jem Mace , it is situated in Swan Lane in Norwich. Jem was the landlord of the White Swan public house and the road was named after the pub. Although not positioned on the exact site of the pub which is now a jewellery shop, it has been put in place next door on the wall of a drapers shop.
I came across the picture in a book I found in the loft. It is of John Heenan and his manager Jack Macdonald inspecting the 30lb punch bag filled with sand. the barn was in Haram, Wiltshire and after constant threats of arrest he had to move about from village to village and the this barn was used in his final weeks training leading upto his fight with Sayers.
Two separate commemorative coins were struck after the fight, one picturing Heenan and the other of Sayers. These coins were 38mm and were struck in New York by Smith and Hartmann.
A photo of British Bareknuckle boxer and gloved boxer Charles Norton. Im busy trying to find out more info about him after an email from his GG Granddaughter... He was born in Birmingham, England in around 1852 and eventually moved to the states in 1879....Although I've found out quite a bit about him, im surprised the archive dept at Birmingham Library don't have access to their files online....All archives have to be viewed on microfilm at the library itself. If anyone has info or photos of him, other than the general information from google, be great to here from you.
A studio photo of Sullivan taken in 1908, aged 50.
A gold topped walking stick presented to John L in 1883 from his friends of a secret society in Boston. It came up for auction recently but no price was given to what it went for.
An image of inside the Castle Tavern in Holborn as it would have been in 1820. It was taken over by Tom Belcher, brother of Jem Belcher in 1814 and he spent time and money on making it a place for the gentry and the Fancy of the ring and as a result it was the main Boxing club in London. Fights were often staged at the Castle Tavern where betting and fighting went hand in hand. Tom Belcher had obviously made a name for himself as he was one of the bodyguards chosen by John Jackson at the coronation of George the IV at Westminster Abbey. After his stint of the landlord Tom Belcher retired to a quieter life in Finchley and the club was taken over by another great fighter in that of Tom Spring.
Thomas Murphy, the Newzealander Bareknuckle boxer and gloved boxer.