In the Collection

British Foxhunting & Racing Scenes on Walnut Screen

Donated By

Susan M. Ely


This screen was originally from the home of her grandfather, Sir Ashley Sparks at Northaw, near Syosset, Long Island, New York. Susan remembers it in his dining room when she was a child. The lovely prints are mounted behind glass and are in excellent condition.

Sir Ashley, who was Thomas Ashley Sparks before he was knighted in 1919, guided the American affairs of one of the largest shipping lines in the world during a flourishing period in trans-Atlantic travel and commerce. During this timeframe the Cunard lines Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, two of the largest liners on the seas, were built. In 1947, Cunard named him deputy chairman of its board of directors. He was the first man living in this country to hold that position, retiring in 1950.

Served in the Wartime Ministry

In World War I, he served as director general of the British Ministry of Shipping in the United States, allocating ships for Canadian and United States forces. In World War II, he was named to a similar post as representative of the British Ministry of War Transport. Sir Ashley was knighted in Britain for his services in moving troops and supplies overseas during both World Wars. The Netherlands decorated him for his cooperation with its shipping ministry in World War II.