Riccardo Bassani

consulenze storico archivistiche

via Gran Sasso, 38 - 00141 Roma

phone 0039-6-8180703 - 0039-347-6090039 - email: riccardobassani@iol.it




Federico Tesio

A great italian owner and breeder

Promoted by the Breeders' and Owners' Italian Associations and under the high support of the Ministero per i Beni Culturali ed Ambientali e delle Politiche Agricole, has been prepared the wide exhibition Federico Tesio: a great italian owner and breeder on the occasion of the first centenary from the Dormello Stud foundation. This exhibition, standed in Rome at Capannelle track from September 27th to November 16th 1997.
It will be available for eventual foreign editions. For more detailed informations, about the themes of the enterprise so as the costs and additional services, you may contact:

Riccardo Bassani - Consulenze Storico-Archivistiche - Via Gran Sasso 38 - 00141 Roma - Italy (Phone and Faxsimile 0039.6.8180703)

E mail: riccardobassani@iol.it

Federico Tesio leads his first Derby winner Guido Reni in 1911

The Exhibit

contents and sections

The study of Francesco Denza, teacher of Federico Tesio

1. The cultural and scientific formation of Federico Tesio

The exhibit opens reminding in short the studies leaded by Tesio at the Royal College Carlo Alberto of Moncalieri, where he was pupil of Father Francesco Denza, famous physicist and meteorologist, who introduced him to the scientific research and the Darwin theories.

This section is completed by the reconstruction of the Tesio trip to Patagonia in 1892. Here, in Darwin's footsteps, visited the native populations and studied the animal behaviour, expeciallythe horese' one.

Federico Tesio, Writing-desk (ca. 1898)

2. The artistical activity of Federico Tesio

Federico Tesio was not only a great horse breeder and owner.He was a great artist too. Particularly in the end of the century, he devoted himself to applied arts, most of all to the cabinet-work, planning and producing a series of wonderful pieces that furnished his villa in Dormello (Lake Maggiore). A few of these fornitures (two writing-desks, a wardrobe and a bookcase) are shown for the first time to the public in this exhibit.

Fedrico e Lydia Tesio, Stud Book of English Fullbred Horses (1898-1954)

3. Federico Tesio scholar of thoroughbred

In the course of the exhibit you run over Federico Tesio activity as a breeder and owner again, especially that carried on from1898, year of foundation of the Dormello stud-farm, to 1954, year of his death, with an appendix that protracts up to 1956 and dwells on the achievements of the famous Ribot.

In particular, using his writings- first of all his Stud Book of English Fullbred Horses, compendium of comments and observations carried out for more than half a century- are analysed successes and failures, giving to the visitors the chance to follow these undertakings with the eyes of Tesio himself.



The famous Stud Book, that is exhibited for the first time, carefully restored, was for Federico Tesio an essential instrument to study , with that analysed all the peculiarities of his horses.




Lydia Tesio turns over the pages of Stud Book

Federico Tesio, Scopas (1923)

The exhibit consists of gathers works, photographies (about 250), picures and other documents of such versatile personality.



Nearco before to run the Italian Derby


Nearco wins the Grand Prix de Paris (L'Illustrazione Italiana)


Ribot in his box at San Siro


The Exhibit is completed by some movies dedicated to the greatest Tesio's champions: from Cavaliere d'Arpino to Jacopa del Sellaio, from Donatello to Nearco, from Tenerani to Daumier, from Botticelli to Ribot.

An other great italian breeder and owner: Luchino Visconti

4. The turf at the time of Federico Tesio

But the Italian horse-races, in his time, didn't exhausted with his name and his thoroughbreds. Felice Scheibler, Giuseppe De Montel, Mario e Vittorio Crespi, Luchino Visconti, Giovanni Lorenzini, Gino Mantovani, Bianca Verga and many others breeders and owners, contributed to make it great and fascinating. Great, because they looked at the thoroughbred only in order to select it, fascinating, because with their competence they gave life to the race-courses pesage.


The Aga Khan leads his first Derby winner Blenheim, ridden by Harry Wragg. The breeder Lord Carnavon is on the right


In Twentieth Century, in Europe, the evolution of the thoroughbred has depended on Lord Derby, the Aga Khan, Marcel Boussac, whose philosophy was really different from Tesio one's.




But Tesio's influence was essential all over the world. We can think about the heritage of Nearco and Ribot. And many breeders in every country became great because of horses breeded by Federico Tesio. In North America we can remember Bull Hancock and E. P. Taylor.




Bull Hancock with Buckpasser at Caiborne Farm

The volume


The exhibit is comèleted by a volume vhich gathers critical essays by several italians and foreigners authors skilled in horse questions, History, History of Art, History of Sience, etc. It is divided in the following four sections:

1. Culture, Science and Art in Federico Tesio

G. Incisa della Rocchetta, In the air of Dormello. A Memory of Federico Tesio

F. Favino, For a "scientific" reading of Federico Tesio's work

S. Ferrucci, The "chic" flame and the searching eye. Tesio's trip to Patagonia

L. Falco, Colours of coats. From chapter IV of the volume "Breeding the Race-horse" by Federico Tesio

G. Raimondi, Between vanguard and tradition. The european modernism in the fornitures of Federico Tesio.

2. Federico Tesio breeder,owner and trainer

F. Varola, The Tesio's secret: Clasicity and Stoutness

T. Morris, The inflence of Federico Tesio on Word Breeding

R. Bassani, The History of Dormello in its Stud Book of English Fullbred Horses

P. Willett, Tesio's influence on British Racincing and Breeding between Nearco and Ribot

E. Bassi, From Apelle to Ribot: thedescendants of the great tesian champions


3. The turf at the time of Federico Tesio

M. Forti, The emotion of gallop. The horse image in the european painting between '800 and '900.

M. Fossati, Federico Tesio: between the truth and the heresy. The opposition had class and means and he improved it.

E. Serinaldi, The Crespi and the Razza del Soldo: the capital and the turf

S. Ferrucci, From Arma Bianca to Coca Cola: Luchino Visconti at races


4. Essays by Federico Tesio

- A rapid trip over north Patagonia. A lecture by Captain Federico Tesio at the Italian National Geographic on 1893, april the 30th.

- Study about the races in Italy (1921)

- Selected breeds and the bounds of their evolution (1940)

- A Tesio's report to the Italian Jockey Club (May 1945)

Technical informations

The exhibit needs an about 400 sqm area.

It will be provided complete in the english version for requested time.

Our services include:

Our budget doesn't include charges for:

The profits yelded by the sale of the catalogues and/or of every other merchandise relative to the enterprise, will pertain exclusively to you, save a 2% royalty that will belong to us.


For more information write

e mail: riccardobassani@iol.it