Provenance: the artist’s family
When Holland, a keen motorcyclist himself, painted this image, Speedway was at the height of its popularity. Brought over to Britain by Australian riders in 1928, the sport took Britain by storm, with over 300 tracks being built in the 1930s alone. Each race lasted for four laps and was contested by two riders, the home side wearing red and blue and the away team, yellow and white.
The futurist idiom, which Holland has used to great effect, was an ideal choice for a subject celebrating noise and speed. The reclining figure, painting the starting blocks, suggests an element of self-portraiture. The image brings to mind the poster designs of Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954).