Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games


June 24, 2015

The Dightons were a well known family of caricaturists working during the late 18th and 19th centuries: Robert Dighton (1751-1814), Richard Dighton (1796-1880), Richard Dighton Jr (1823-91) and Joshua Dighton (1831-1908). Joshua is best known for his sporting and equestrian portraits, which are very similar in style to the later work of his father, Richard.

George Payne (1803-1878) racehorse owner, breeder of thoroughbreds and gambler, was the eldest son of George Payne of Sulby Hall Northamptonshire who was shot in a duel on Wimbledon Common in 1810. George was educated at Eton and Christchurch, Oxford, where he was sent down for ‘indulging his sporting tastes too freely’. In 1835 he was elected Master of the Pytchley Hounds. “He owned racehorses but was notoriously unlucky on the turf with his own horses...His first partner on the Turf was Edward Bouverie of Delapre Abbey , Northamptonshire. Bouverie’s colours were black, while those of his friend were all white. They amalgamated their colours, and so originated the famous 'Magpie Jacket'. Popular as these colours were, and as often as they were seen on the racecourses of England, they were never associated with any greater success than the winning of a great handicap.” In the winter of 1836 he accused Henry Wiliam, Baron de Ros, of cheating at cards. At the subsequent trial, he had his character most unfairly aspersed by Sir John Campbell, causing Payne to seriously consider horsewhipping Campbell in public. He died unmarried on 2 September 1878, and was sorely missed by his many friends and admirers: “ a true English gentleman, large hearted, high-spirited, the pink of chivalry, and the soul of honour- a man of a most lovable nature”. 

Reference: (Dictionary of Biography, 1885-1900, volume 44).

In contrast, Admiral The Honourable Henry John Rous (1795- 1877) had a hatred of heavy gambling, which became a near obsession and the highest amount he ever wagered was a meagre ten pounds, Despite this, he became steward of the Jockey Club in 1838, a position he held almost interrupted until his death. The Rous Memorial Stakes were named in his honour.