The Best Known Englishman of His Time

Day 23 of Colourisation Project – May 30th

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Today’s subject would not look out of place making a single-origin espresso on High St with a dog-eared Penguin classic tucked neatly into his back pocket. Universally known as “W. G.”, British cricketing legend, William Gilbert Grace, (1848-1915) was a character of mythic proportions in the world of cricket.

W G Grace

Photographer: Herbert Rose Barraud C1880 – Colourised by Loredana Crupi

A doctor by profession, Grace was an all rounder who dominated the sport during his career. On this day in 1895, W.G. Grace scored his 1,000th cricket run of the season after only 22 days. His career spanned 44 years and for decades Grace was arguably the most famous man in England.

He was noted for his outstanding fielding and very strong ball throwing. He was once credited with throwing the cricket ball 122 yards during an athletics event. He attributed this skill to his daily childhood pastime of throwing stones at crows.

Grace amassed countless records, many of which still stand today. He scored 54,896 runs, including 126 centuries, took 2,876 wickets. In 1880 he scored 152 against Australia in the First Test Match played in Australia, and was the automatic first choice and opening batsman for England until 1899.

W. G. Grace died in 1915 at the age of 67, after suffering a heart attack.


“When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it – then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague – then bat.”  W.G. Grace


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