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Meet my New Horse

Updated: Jun 5

George is the latest equine anatomical model that I was commissioned to do. It has taken approximately 200 hours of painting to complete this project, but what a privilege it is to be able to combine my love of art and painting with equine anatomy to create models like this.

He will then be part of the George Stubbs exhibition at Normanby Hall Country Park, North Lincolnshire, which opens in March.

2024 marks 300 years since the birth of the famous equine artist George Stubbs. The exhibition celebrates Stubbs’ work and the Anatomy of the Horse.

Many of you will be familiar with the work of George Stubbs, who is probably most famous for his painting of Whistlejacket. The 2nd Marquess of Rockingham commissioned Stubbs to paint a commemorative life-size portrait of his racehorse. This painting is on display at the National Gallery, London.

It was his study of equine anatomy that makes the work he produced so amazing. At that time there hadn't been many accurate studies of equine anatomy done through dissection. He spent 18 months living in Horkstow, North Lincolnshire. He spent this time studying the anatomy of the horse by dissecting multiple horses. He spent weeks on each horse carefully removing one layer at a time, and then as accurately as he could, measuring and drawing the anatomical structures.

From this study he went on to produce an incredible collection of anatomical drawings. This, at the time was ground-breaking and formed the basis of his book Anatomy of the Horse. This book is still available today. It’s also important to note that this book became an invaluable reference for vets and farriers at that time.  

The model horse, George that I've painted especially for this exhibition has the skeleton on one side and the muscles on the other.

When he did his dissections, George Stubbs didn't look so much at nerves and blood vessels. He wanted to study more about the skeleton and the muscles and that's why I've illustrated those on the model horse that I've painted.  

A Collection of Anatomical Models

As many of you will know, George isn’t the first model I've painted - there will be a number of them on display at the Equine Anatomy Exhibition.

Every horse that I paint is a bespoke design and I’ve been lucky enough to do a few over the years. One was for Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

This one is used as part of their educational department and strangles campaign, showing certain lymph nodes and the guttural pouch.  

Equine anatomy and art bone names

Another one was for World Horse Welfare. This one was a little different as it was a word art model, where the names of the bones are written in the shape of the bones.

One of the most challenging things when painting these models is trying to paint the internal structures. These 3d structures are positioned deep inside the body, but I'm trying to paint them on the outside of the horse.

The trick is trying to make them look right from all different angles on the model. Trying to get the depth within the painting, so as you walk around the model and look at it from the front as well as from the side it looks as accurate as possible.

It’s not just horses!!

I have painted a hare and an elephant for the Children's Hospital Trust. This one shows an in-calf elephant highlighting the skeleton and muscles. This particular model was really good fun and also helped to raise money for charity.

Whether it's a model horse or another animal, using art and the visual aspect of these models makes understanding the subject of anatomy much more fun.

In particular with horses with a greater knowledge we can improve their health, welfare and training methods.

elephant anatomy horse, in foal

Discover more about the fascinating world of equine anatomy and visit our Equine Anatomy Exhibition. This is a unique opportunity to explore the anatomy of the horse. This exhibition showcases the growth and development of horses from birth to adulthood, revealing the hidden structures that lie under the skin and how they function. This exhibition include a number of equine skeletons of different ages, lots of individual bones and anatomical painted models too. You don't want to miss it.

I hope to see you there!


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