An Extraordinary Weekend at the National Sporting Library and Museum Celebrates POLO!
MIDDLEBURG, VA – An extraordinary weekend unfolded September 22 and 23, 2012, as the National Sporting Library and Museum hosted a fabulous benefit polo match and luncheon, a symposium featuring leading authorities on the sport, and an art exhibition showing over 50 paintings and sculptures about the game. The three events provided an opportunity to become immersed in the sport of polo, support the NSLM, and celebrate the unique role the institution plays in the world of equestrian and field sports.
An extraordinary weekend unfolded September 22 and 23, 2012, as the National Sporting Library and Museum hosted a fabulous benefit polo match and luncheon, a symposium featuring leading authorities on the sport, and an art exhibition showing over 50 paintings and sculptures about the game. The three events provided an opportunity to become immersed in the sport of polo, support the NSLM, and celebrate the unique role the institution plays in the world of equestrian and field sports.
Benefit Polo Match and Luncheon
A brilliant day welcomed guests to the Benefit Polo Match and Luncheon on the beautiful Virginia International Polo Club grounds located at historic LLangollen in Upperville, Virginia. Chairman of the event was Jacqueline B. Mars. The honorary committee included Lord and Lady Charles Cecil, Robert and Lucianna Duvall, and The Honorable and Mrs. William A. Nitze.
Michael H. S. Finney, a Maryland racing historian and sporting art dealer who has served as an instructor, announcer, and referee at the Myopia Polo Club in Boston was the announcer for the day.
Manuel H. Johnson, chairman of the board of directors since 2004, welcomed everyone and expressed deepest gratitude to Mrs. Mars for her leadership of the event. He also recognized Maureen Brennan and her team at the VIPolo Club for organizing the day’s polo match. Guests dined on an elegantly prepared luncheon while overlooking the large green polo field nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
First on the field was the parade of the Piedmont Fox Hounds, the oldest recognized pack of foxhounds in the United States, having been founded in 1840 by Colonel Richard Henry Dulaney thirteen years before he founded the Upperville Colt and Horse show. Next on the field was the Washington Scottish Pipe Band which performed under the leadership of Drum Major David Close. They were followed by the introduction of the teams and players for the day. Beverly Polo composed of Bill Ballhaus/Alan Adler (A) USA, Doug Barnes (2) USA, Cote Zegers (5) Chile, and Juan Sanchez (4) Chile. Right at Home included Wendy Andrews (A) USA, Rick Heald (1) USA, Tano Vial (6) Chile, and Juan Carlos Gonzalez (3) Chile. German Noguera served as umpire. The exciting game was won by Beverly Polo 11-10. Juan Sanchez was recognized as the Most Valuable Player and Alejandro Vial’s Atalanta received the Best Playing Pony award.
Polo enthusiasts filled the Founders’ Room at the Library to hear a panel moderated by NSLM board member F. Turner Reuter, Jr. The afternoon began with an overview of the growth and resurgence of polo in America as seen by author Horace A. Laffaye, M.D., a 2009 – 2010 NSLM John H. Daniels Fellow who is a former polo player and authority on international polo and its history. Laffaye was followed by Michael H. S. Finney who discussed polo in American art. Finney looked closely at the challenges inherent in portraying the sport and compared 19th century art with that produced in the 20th century especially after the emergence of the influential artist and player, Herbert Haseltine. Dennis J. Amato, Ph.D., a noted polo historian who has amassed one of the world’s largest collections of printed materials and ephemera on the sport, traced the role of women in polo from the 1890’s to the 1970’s. Dr. Amato underscored the importance of the NSLM to scholarship since “conventional libraries do not do as good a job of covering sports.” The panel concluded with Joseph Muldoon III, founder of the Potomac Polo School and, at one time, one of the highest rated amateur players in the U.S., who traced the development of the game over the past 40 years and focused on current issues in American polo. He noted the importance of Maureen Brennan to the development of interest in the game in this region.
After a question and answer period, guests moved to the exhibit Chukkers: The Sport of Polo in Art for a reception and informal conversation with the speakers. Chukkers was curated by the NSLM and researched by H. A. Laffaye with loans from the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame. The exhibition explores the exciting game and its history with over fifty paintings and watercolors, twenty sculptures and medals, and a selection of antique trophies. It is on display through September 30, 2012, and is free and open to the public. Museum hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Photos may be copied directly from this press release. For more photos or higher resolution images, please contact Mickey Gustafson.
The National Sporting Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the literature, art and culture of equestrian and field sports. Founded in 1954, the institution has over 24,000-books dating from the 16th-21st centuries. The John H. Daniels Fellowship program supports the research of visiting scholars. The Museum, a newly renovated and expanded historic building on the Library campus, houses exhibits of American and European fine animal and sporting art. Information is shared through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, publications and special events. The NSLM is open to researchers and the general public. Admission: free. Library Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Director of Communications and Education
National Sporting Library and Museum
Middleburg, VA 20117 540-687-6542 ext. 11 www.nsl.org