Victorian Silver & Enamel Racehorse & Jockey Vesta Case - James Woodburn

George Heath, London 1891
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A good quality Victorian silver and enamel Vesta Case of rounded rectangular form with sprung hinged lid and engraved striker to the side, the base engraved with contemporary script initials. The lid with inset enamel panel depicting a galloping racehorse and jockey wearing pink silks and a black cap. The sprung hinged lid opening to reveal a silver gilt interior.

By George Heath, London, 1891.

Possibly depicting the famous Victorian jockey - James Woodburn 1863-1919.

Born at York on September 20, 1863, James began life as a doctor’s errand boy but, wanting to become a jockey, he ran away from home. Covering the 13 miles on foot, he arrived at the Hambleton stables of Mr Sanderson, who took an instant liking to the runaway. Woodburn rode his first winner for the stable on Hagioscope (carrying 6 stone 3 lbs) in 1881, beating Othello in the Thirsk Handicap. 

A steady stream of winners ensued, including the Lincoln Handicap (twice, on Fulmen, 1886, & Lord George, 1891) and the Ebor in 1891 on Buccaneer. In 1889, he won the Stewards' Cup on Dog Rose & the Liverpool Autumn Cup on Philomel. His classic wins came in the 1889 Oaks on L’Abesse de Jouarre and, in the same year, on Minthe in the One Thousand Guineas. He rode his final winner on Lady MacGregor at Birmingham in 1900.
James, who stood at 5 ft 1 & a half inches tall, was a keen fox-hunter, and was often seen out with the York and Ainsty. He was the brother-in-law to Fred Barrett, each of the jockeys having married a daughter of James Goater, the trainer. 
Having ridden work at Newmarket for many years, James suffered a heavy fall and was rushed to the Rous Memorial Hospital where he spent many months recuperating. 

He was eventually discharged, but died, destitute, aged 56, from cancer of the tongue on Monday, 27 October, 1919. He was buried at Newmarket.


In good condition with no damage or repair
11 mm (0.43 inches)
48 mm (1.89 inches)
40 mm (1.57 inches)
42.00 Grams (1.35 troy ounces)
Stock Code
Silver & Enamel