Dr William Gilbert Grace

British cricketer

The greatest and most famous of all cricket players and an emblem of the Victorian era. Playing for Gloucestershire and England (and captaining both) Grace was the dominant figure as a batsman and bowler in cricket's 'golden age', scoring 54,896 runs (including 126 centuries, the 100th in 1895) and taking 2,876 wickets in a first-class career that lasted from from 1865 to 1908. As one of the most popular and recognisable figures of his day, it was natural that he should be of interest to the early filmmakers, and three films survive. The remarkable Dr Grace's Jubilee Procession, taken by Prestwich, shows Grace and a line-up of cricketing greats (Arthur Shrewsbury, F.S. Jackson, A.C. MacLaren and many others) walking past the camera on the oocasion of Grace's fiftieth birthday. The only film of Grace in action is Williamson's 1901 Cricket, showing Grace and Prince Ranjitsinhji (the subject of the very first cricket film, taken by Henry Walter Barnett in Australia in December 1897) at batting practice. The third, showing Grace at his final test match in June 1899, and possibly shot by Jasper Redfern, has been recreated on film from a Filoscope flickbook by the National Film and Television Archive, London.

Luke McKernan