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Sport is an uncommon subject for painting before the late nineteenth century, with the important exceptions of the upper-class sports of horseracing and hunting. The dress of jockeys was a slimmed-down version of outdoor wear, with a distinctive cap. It is significant however that the history of male costume from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries is broadly the story of its adaption to increased physical activity.

As the market for paintings extended beyond the upper classes in the nineteenth century, working class sports such as football, boxing, and cycle-racing became among the earliest other sports depicted. But each took some time to develop its own style of dress, sporting teams being the ones that first needed to identify themselves.