19th-Century English School

Portrait Of A Chestnut Horse & Girl

19th-Century English School

Portrait Of A Chestnut Horse & Girl

This adorable mid-19th-century English School oil painting depicts a young girl and chestnut horse before a landscape.

Standing quietly within the picturesque scenery of the family estate, a girl and her beloved horse. She knows it well, probably feeding it on occasion and visiting the stables with her mother. Her outfit is synonymous with the 1860s, a small bell-shaped dress in light blue with white hoops, topped off with a wide-brimmed summer hat. The horse looks curiously towards us.

At times, charming equestrian portraits, such as this, are dismissed as the work of an amateur. But, in fact, there were numerous experienced professionals working in this manner throughout the 19th century. Often commissioned by the gentleman of the house, portraits of children and animals were particularly popular with the landed gentry and a topic of much debate.

To reach the point of completion, an artist would correspond frequently by letter, occasionally meeting to discuss their ideas and talk through sketches. The finished works were then generally completed in the studio following studies from nature.

The very fact the painting still survives is a testament to its importance for the family in question and it undoubtedly once hung in a splendid country house.

Held within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 28” x 22” / 72cm x 56cm
Year of creation: c. 1860
Condition: Artwork presents well. Canvas relined. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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