Classical, 18th Century influenced Equestrian Portraiture.
My initial drive to specialise in horse portraiture was inspired in large part by the classical master, George Stubbs - a name synonymous with paintings of elegant horses set in idealised landscapes.
As an early Georgian artist from the 1700’s, Stubbs sits alongside other major equestrian artists such as Gilpin and Agasse, with their mix of arcadian landscape and formality - an evocation of both an ordered and beautiful world.
This golden age of equestrian art continues to strongly influence my work, whether they be commissions of specific horses, or studies for my personal work.
Working primarily in acrylics on canvas, my style is detailed and closely observed, with much attention given to carefully portraying the individual horses’ characteristics, build and coat.
‘Horse & Groom’ is a painting initially commissioned as a classic equestrian portrait painting for the pub sign of the ‘Horse & Groom’ Free House. The pub is 18th Century and the owner wanted an image to reflect and honour that heritage. I was able to suggest expanding the brief to include framing the finished painting, to be hung inside the pub itself.
The groom was based upon a real-life character called Joe Budd, employed by the nearby Goodwood Estate in the 18th Century. His official outfit was a little too fancy for this local village Inn though, and so was toned down accordingly.
The landscape setting is portrayed in typical English Arcadian style with river, hills and carefully positioned trees.
And the horse itself, a lovely, elegant light Bay.
‘Hunters at rest’ is set with a soft, early morning light, just as the sun starts to break through. It includes the classic 18th Century landscape elements of rock faces, carefully composed trees and long distance views. The bay and grey hunters are both well groomed with braided manes, in heightened contrast with the otherwise natural surroundings.
‘Black horse’ is an example study in taking a modern, and elegant horse and placing him into a carefully composed landscape, which reflects the values and styling of 18th Century British equestrian art.
‘Democretes’ is an example of how an initial brief by the client can be developed to produce a painting with a more timeless feel, and something of a tribute to 18th Century classicism. This was achieved by replacing the rather busy and distracting race course background of the supplied photography, with the open views of a grass gallop in a countryside setting.