Note: Henry (Harry) Payne Whitney was part of the affluent Whitney family of New York. He married Gertrude Vanderbilt (1875–1942) in 1896 and maintained residences in New York City. A quintessential sportsman, he inherited his love of polo from his father. His contributions to horse breeding and polo changed the face of the game greatly, so much so that the United States became a major player on international fields for the first time.
This bronze captures the Irish mare, Ralla, a year after she and other powerhouse polo ponies, won the 1909 Westchester Cup for the Americans under Whitney’s leadership. Laffaye states in The Evolution of Polo, “Although difficult to handle, Ralla was one of Harry Payne Whitney’s best.” A cast of this bronze is also held by The Whitney Museum of Art, New York, a gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. One is also privately owned by the author, Horace Laffaye and has been exhibited recently at The Museum of Polo, Lake Worth, Florida.
Literature: Laffaye, Horace A. The Evolution of Polo. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co, 2009, pg. 277, ill.; Laffaye, Horace A. Polo in the United States: A History. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co, 2011, pg. 304
golden to brown patina with minimal rubbing to high surfaces; small chips to marble base