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Horse races by Antonio Franconi

Poster 9 Messidor Year V (June 27, 1797) 

Antonio Franconi and his sons Laurent and Henri were omnipresent in the equestrian activities of their time. After the fire that destroyed their property in Lyon in 1793 and while they do not yet have a place dedicated to their shows in Paris, they are involved in all  events where their equestrian skills and their ability to create events can be exploited, including horse races.

The government of the Directoire orchestrated several national celebrations at the heart of which were games and races in order to consolidate "fraternity" and patriotic spirit. Among these occasions, particular attention is given to horse racing in order to encourage sporting emulation and draw attention to the very much needed renewal of horse breeding.

After the Revolutionary years, horse racing on the Champ de Mars makes its great return on July 26, 1796. Barely a year later, this poster describes Antonio Franconi's proposal, the organization and the course of the competition that he orchestrates and renews later on. Note that the date of the race does not appear in the printed text in order to allow for the poster to be used later.

Horse Race

Notice to Amateurs who have horses likely to run

It will take place at the Champ de Mars and at determined times

Horse Races


The first will take place on … at five o'clock very precisely in the afternoon.

For a long time, in France, this superb exercise, so useful to a warlike nation, had been abandoned in order to seek culpable pleasures in softness and dissipation. But today that we have reconquered all our rights, and that, under wise and beneficent laws, we learn to know the price of freedom; the games, the tournaments, the races will remind us of the fine days of Greece and Rome, and will make us enjoy at the same time those whose gentle influence we are already beginning to feel. These Races will then be used to give more brilliance to the national holidays where the force, the courage and the address deploy with the envy to be admired and to add still to the majesty of the people of which they are the object.

The Cen [citizen] Franconi, who was always a friend of the arts and talents of this kind, is willing to undertake to receive the names of those who wish to contribute with him to bring back this exercise forgotten for many years in a country where men seem made to set an example and serve as a model for other nations.

Here, therefore, are the conditions to which it will be necessary to conform in order to be admitted to the competition.

Ten louis will be deposited for his registration, which will serve to form the sum intended for the winners. An 8e  will be deducted from this sum, which will be used to pay the necessary costs for an object of this nature. There will be three prizes: the first will be half of the said sum; the 2nd  of two thirds of the other half; and the 3rd of the last third.

There will be no distinction for the weight of the riders nor for the age of the horses; each one moreover will be free to race his horse or to have it raced by another; but the prize won will always be given to the owner of the horse. The rider will enter the lists with his courier on the Gros-Caillou side: there his right to compete will be examined. This same place will serve as the starting point for the race. We will go around the Champ de Mars twice. Signs placed at the ends will indicate where to turn.

People who have to compete are invited to take as much as they can, a costume similar to this kind of exercise. The amateurs who will be on horseback, or in car, will be held in the center of the Champ de Mars.

You must register with Cen Franconi, faub. Temple No. 11, five days before the time fixed for the race, the ten louis in question will be deposited there at the same time for admission. 

Identical copy. Franconi.

Poster of horse races organized by Antonio Franconi 

YEAR. D.XXXVIII.3, file 49 f.140: Horse racing, 9 messidor year V

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