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John Gully (1783-1863), Prizefighter and racehorse owner

Sitter in 5 portraits
The prize-fighter John Gully's life story is an archetypal tale of social mobility. His career began with a notorious bare-knuckle fight in 1805 against Henry Pearce, nicknamed the 'Game Chicken', while Gully was in a debtor's prison. Organised by 'The Fancy' - the group of dedicated aristocratic followers of the ring - the prize for winning was his release from gaol. He later fought Pearce in front of a huge crowd which included the Duke of Clarence (later William IV). Despite several impressive victories, he retired to become a race-horse owner. His horses won the Derby many times and made his fortune. In 1832 he turned his attention to politics and became MP for Pontefract.

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John Gully

by Samuel Drummond
oil on board, 1805-1808
On display in the Billiard Room at Bodelwyddan Castle
NPG 4817


The House of Commons, 1833

by Sir George Hayter
oil on canvas, 1833-1843
On display in Room 20 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 54


John Gully

by Unknown artist
mezzotint, early 19th century
NPG D35064


A Peeler and a Repealer (John Gully; Daniel O'Connell)

by John ('HB') Doyle, published by Thomas McLean
lithograph, published 13 March 1833
NPG D41183


March of Reform

by John ('HB') Doyle, printed by Alfred Ducôte, published by Thomas McLean
lithograph, published 28 March 1833
NPG D41187