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"Fairie" A W Cox (Image plate from Vanity Fair)
, 1910

by Sir Leslie Ward

chromolithograph (sheet: 37.0 cm x 23.0 cm)

Alfred William Cox (1857–1919), racehorse owner and breeder, first came to Australia in the 1870s and tried his hand at farming, acquiring an interest in a property near Hay. In 1884 he acquired a share in a mine at Broken Hill by winning a card game. His opponent on this occasion was a cattle station manager and one of a syndicate of seven locals who had taken out a mining lease in the area a year previously, but who had yet to reap the anticipated rewards from the venture. In August 1884, a government geologist confirmed that the claim was rich with silver ore, ensuring that Cox and his fellow shareholders – now branded the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd – would soon be very wealthy. Returning permanently to England in the late 1880s, Cox directed his attention to horseracing and as ‘Mr Fairie’ became a leading and highly successful owner and breeder of racehorses. On his death, it was reported that his horses had won in excess of £180,000 over 33 seasons, some of his more significant victories including the Ascot Gold Cup (with Bayardo) in 1910 and the Derby (with Lemberg) in 1911.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015
Accession number: 2015.13