Treasure's description

The scouring of the White Horse

The scouring of the White Horse

The designs of Richard Doyle, famous Victorian illustrator, of fairytales and Punch, illuminate the cover of ‘The Scouring of the White Horse’ by the author of ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’ (1859). They represent the country sports at the great festival of 1857 on White Horse Hill, which, in keeping with tradition, celebrated the cleaning of the horse. An intense sense of place, its history, legend and living characters, pervades the work, the purposes of high and low yoked together harmoniously. Alfred the Great’s signal victory over the Danes there, in the Battle of Ashdown, is vividly imagined. The author, Thomas Hughes, native of Uffington, disciple of Thomas Arnold of Rugby, Christian Socialist, champion of co-operative production and of education and justice for the working man, looked for ‘a growing sense of fellowship and brotherhood amongst our people’ and was sure that ‘reverence for all great Englishmen … will help to bring to life in us the feeling that we are a family, bound together to work out God’s purposes in this little island, and in the uttermost parts of the earth’. ‘The Scouring of the White Horse’ was presented to the Library by J.E. Pritchard.