Guy Nickalls

Guy Nickalls by TheakstonThomas
Guy Nickalls, a photo by TheakstonThomas on Flickr.

Via Flickr:Original Vanity Fair Print, otherwise known as a Spy Print after the most renowned artist of the genre, Leslie Ward.

This colour lithograph is dated 20th July 1889 with the caption Wingfield Sculls.

The subject is Guy Nickalls , a renowned Rower of the Victorian Era.

Nickalls was born at Sutton, then in Surrey, the son of Tom Nickalls (1827-1899) who was a stockjobber on the stock exchange and one of the founding members of London Rowing Club. His mother, Emily, was the first woman to climb Mont Blanc and Monta Rosa in the same week. Guy was one of twelve children, of whom his brother Vivian was also a successful oarsman.

Nickalls was educated at Eton college where he was known as Luni due to his reckless behaviour[1]. He played football with success, and when not engaged in athletically breaking his bones or risking his neck, he would row. At Eton he won the Junior Sculling in 1884, the School Pulling in 1885/86, and School Sculling in 1885. His ability was soon noticed and he secured the four seat in the Eton Eight, carrying off the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at Henley Royal Regatta in 1885.

Nickalls went up to Magdalen College, Oxford in 1886. At Oxford he won the University Sculls in 1887, the University Pairs in 1888, 1889 and 1890 – with W.F.D. Smith once and twice with Lord Ampthill – and the University Fours in 1886, 1887, 1888 and 1889. He went head of the river in 1888 with Magdalen, and rowed for Oxford in the Boat Race for five years from 1887 to 1891 losing three races and winning two. He was O.U.B.C. President in 1890. During his time at Oxford he showed his prowess as a sculler winning the Wingfield Sculls in 1887 when his defeated opponents were Jumps Gardner and Steve Fairbairn, 1888 when he beat Gardner again and 1889 when no one would race against him.[5] He lost theDiamond Challenge Sculls in 1887 to Gardner, but won in 1888, 1889 and 1890, beating Gilbert Kennedy in the last year. In 1890 he also won Silver Goblets partnering Lord Ampthill.

After Oxford, Nickalls joined Leander of which he was Captain in 1892 and 1897 and took the main prizes at Henley Royal Regatta over the next seven years. His Leander crew won the Grand Challenge Cup in 1891 and 1892 and in 1891 he and Ampthill won Silver Goblets again. In 1893 he was in the Magdalen crew that won the Stewards’ Challenge Cup and he also won the Diamonds again against Kennedy. In 1894 he won Silver Goblets partnering his brother Vivian, whom he defeated in the same year in the Diamonds. Vivian Nickalls became a member of London Rowing Club and Guy joined them to win the Stewards in 1895 and the brothers also won Silver Goblets again that year. However Guy lost Diamonds that year to Rupert Guinness. In 1896 Nickalls had three wins – the Grand with Leander, Stewards with London Rowing Club and Silver Goblets with his brother. In 1897 he won Stewards with Leander and Silver Goblets with E. R. Balfour.

After a break of several years, Nickalls was a member of the Leander crew that won the Grand in 1905, but over the next few years the dominant eight in the event was the Belgian crew from Royal Club Nautique de Gand. Nickalls was a member of the winning crews in the Stewards in 1905, 1906 and 1907. In 1908 he was a member of the Leander eight, which was assembled to challenge the Belgians rowing at the 1908 Summer Olympics, and beat them to win the gold medal for Great Britain. source – Wikipedia.

Please go to for this an more Vanity Fair Rowers and Sportsmen.


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