Throughout thousands of years horses have been depicted in art. From the cave paintings in France to modern times, the horse has been a preferred subject of many artists throughout history.
Of all the artists and their renditionsm there is one that may just perhaps stand out from the rest. If you do not know her artwork, you will certainly know the book she illustrated. The book was Black Beauty. That ought to be familiar with just about anyone! The artist is Lucy Kemp-Welch.
Although a painter of animals and people, Lucy Kemp-Welch was most noted for her horse paintings. She was a British painter who attended the art school at Bushey and made horses her preferred subject of choice. She did several studies of the horse in works such as Labourers of the Night and After Work. She specialized in depicting the working horse from the Gypsy Vanner to the Shire, but she also painted sport horses and hunters.
Her paintings capture the beauty of the horse in motion as well as capturing the effect of light and darkness. The Straw Ride is perhaps a favorite of mine. In this she portrays the horse being exercised in a covered walkway. The light is in the background and it softly outlines the riders and the horses creating a more dramatic affect.
She portrays horses in all aspects of life from the simple plow horse to the prideful circus horse. All of which are beautiful in their own way.
There is one painting that is quite striking for its emotional quality. The Morning shows a faithful horse standing over a fallen soldier. The soldier must have been shot the night before and had died on the ground at his horse's feet. The horse still patiently waits for his master to get back up to ride him, but sadly he will never ride again.
Lucy Kemp-Welch truly captures the heart and the soul of a horse. If you ever read Black Beauty to a child in your home take time to look at her work. You will not regret it. Her paintings are as timeless as the story they illustrate.
Sources: photo flikr.com; books.google.com; bbc.co.uk