To mark the 150th anniversary of polo played by the British Army Polo Team, Hackett London are launching an exhibition charting its history through a series of photographs, monographs and prints.
Some pictures date all the way back to the 1900s, showing military officers sitting in the stands at Hurlingham watching the first Polo matches between the French Army and Hurlingham. There’s also a collection of photos of the Royal Family playing Polo, including a young Prince William and Prince Harry playing their own version as children in the early 90s.
Alongside this, six contemporary photographers have been selected to showcase compositions which have never been seen before in the UK: Sam Churchill, Aline Coquelle, Abi Hancock, Dominic James, Irina Kazaridi and Uli Weber. Weber’s series has been commissioned exclusively for Hackett London, with a collection of images which – in his own words – “highlight the raw and powerful nature of equine power versus human strength, yet also show the beauty and grace of that relationship. The inspiration came from the relationship between horse and rider and the mysterious, symbiotic, and ancient relationship between man and beast.”
Polo was discovered way back in 1859, when English Army Lieutenant Joseph Sherer played his first “pulu” game in Manipur, going on to establish the first European Polo Club in India. It wasn’t long before it was being played by British military stations around the world, offering a welcome distraction from the difficulties of military life. In 1869 a match was played on Hounslow Heath in London between two cavalry regiments of the British Army: the 10th Royal Hussars and The 9th Lancers, and the following year the first set of English rules were drawn up.
Hackett London has partnered with the British Army Polo Team for over three decades, becoming their official sponsor in 2005. All contemporary photographs will be available to buy, with proceeds going to the UK Armed Forces Polo Association.
The exhibition is being shown for one day only on 23 May at Christie’s, The Duke Street Gallery, 8 King’s Street, London SW1Y 6QT