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The Lord’s art collection: the home of cricket, and its cultural identity

An Ideal Cricket Match (1887, detail) by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples and George Hamilton Barrable
An Ideal Cricket Match (1887, detail) by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples and George Hamilton Barrable Credit: MCC/Lord's

As England vie for a place in the World Cup final, Alastair Smart visits a little-known collection at Lord’s

Back in the 1860s, Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane, treasurer of Marylebone Cricket Club (the MCC), was urgently looking for artworks. He needed to decorate the newly refurbished and expanded pavilion at Lord’s, the MCC’s ground in London.

As well as scouring art dealerships and auction houses, he invited Club members to contribute any cricket-related work they owned. One member donated a cannonball from the Siege of Sevastopol: a memento from his service in the Crimean War, where the British Army played regular games of cricket (albeit not, presumably, with cannonballs).

Today it counts as...

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