White Horse Macquarie Street c. 1850

Featured Image: Stephen Butts on a white horse, Macquarie Street, Sydney c.1850 Joseph Fowles

Portrait commissions of champion racehorses, prized steeplechasers, hunters and blood horses were obtained from the petit bourgeois, the wealthy, and high ranking government officials. These works of portraiture – along with lithographic prints that could be mass-produced and sold to the general public – provided a reliable source of income for a number of artists.

The horse was also depicted in the portraits of colonial residents to enhance the owner’s status as with Commissioner Henry Bingham and publican Stephen Butts (see above). Butts’ portrayal references those of political leaders and royalty who are similarly shown on horseback in oils from the sixteenth century onwards. This painting also demonstrates Butts’ great pride in his possessions.

The white horse appears regularly in colonial equestrian works, and this is likely for two main reasons: the availability of the Arab horses and their symbolic qualities of purity, valour and bravery.

 

Beagle 1839

Acknowledgements: © State Library of New South Wales; Equinity in the Picture Gallery; Free Exhibition from 8 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.

Featured Image: ‘Beagle’, an Australian bred horse by Skeleton (imp), the property of Capt. P P King, RN, 1839

During the early nineteenth century, Arab horses and thoroughbreds were brought to the colony in significant numbers for breeding and sports such as racing, steeplechasing and hunting. There was a sharp increase in thoroughbred arrivals from the 1830s when these pursuits were well established.

Portrait commissions of champion racehorses, prized steeplechasers, hunters and blood horses were obtained from the petit bourgeois, the wealthy, and high ranking government officials. These works of portraiture – along with lithographic prints that could be mass-produced and sold to the general public – provided a reliable source of income for a number of artists.

Nazeer Farrib 1846

Acknowledgements: © State Library of New South Wales; ‘Equinity’ in the Picture Gallery; Free Exhibition from 8 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.

Featured Image: Nazeer Farrib: A high caste Arab, the property of Jas. Raymond esq. of Varroville, 1846, Edward Winstanley.

During the early nineteenth century, Arab horses and thoroughbreds were brought to the colony in significant numbers for breeding and sports such as racing, steeplechasing and hunting. There was a sharp increase in thoroughbred arrivals from the 1830s when these pursuits were well established.

This increase in blood or pedigree horse ownership generated a significant market for professionally painted equine portraits by English specialists such as Edward Winstanley, Joseph Fowles and Frederick Woodhouse Senior. All arrived in the colony between 1833 and 1858. One British artist Ben Marshall claimed he went to Newmarket because “A man will pay me fifty guineas for painting his horse, who thinks ten guineas too much for painting his wife”.

Flying Buck 1859

Acknowledgements: © State Library of New South Wales; Equinity in the Picture Gallery; Free Exhibition from 8 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.

Featured Image: ‘Flying Buck’: The winner of the first Australian Champion Sweepstakes, October 1st 1859; De Gruchy and Leigh after Frederick Woodhouse Senior. The horse was usually presented in full-length side-view with head in profile, sometimes including informative props or background. The jockey is mounted at a racecourse with groom or owner in attendance.

During the early nineteenth century, Arab horses and thoroughbreds were brought to the colony in significant numbers for breeding and sports such as racing, steeplechasing and hunting. There was a sharp increase in thoroughbred arrivals from the 1830s when these pursuits were well established.

This increase in blood or pedigree horse ownership generated a significant market for professionally painted equine portraits by English specialists such as Edward Winstanley, Joseph Fowles and Frederick Woodhouse Senior. All arrived in the colony between 1833 and 1858. One British artist Ben Marshall claimed he went to Newmarket because “A man will pay me fifty guineas for painting his horse, who thinks ten guineas too much for painting his wife”.

George Stubbs was particularly influential in developing the British approach to equine portraiture and documenting the emerging English breed, the thoroughbred, during the second half of the eighteenth century. The portrait of Flying Buck, based on a work by Frederick Woodhouse Senior comfortably fits within the genre’s parameters.

Petersham Races c. 1845

Acknowledgements: © State Library of New South Wales; Equinity in the Picture Gallery; Free Exhibition from 8 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.

Featured Image: A Race Meeting at Petersham c. 1845 W Scott

Sporting artists also developed a style of treatment for a group of horse galloping called the ‘rocking horse’ or ‘hobbyhorse’ gait, with front and back legs fully extended. W Scott’s depiction of A race meeting at Petersham is a good example of this treatment. This work also shows the common practice of flattening and elongating the horse to suggest speed, while stretching the head and neck to emphasise effort.

Steeplechasing 18th Century

Acknowledgements: © State Library of New South Wales; Equinity in the Picture Gallery; Free Exhibition from 8 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.

Featured Images:

The brook, Five-Dock Grand Steeple-chase, c. 1844 Thomas Balcombe after Edward Winstanley

The stone wall, Five-Dock Grand Steeple-chase, c. 1844 Thomas Balcombe after Edward Winstanley

The first recorded steeplechase event in the colony was staged over 5 miles (8 km) between the Sydney suburbs of Botany and Coogee in 1832. The popularity of this sport saw a series of three annual steeplechase events being held in the 1840s, the Hawkesbury Stakes. Thus race was held over a three-mile (4.8 km) course at Mr Charles Abercrombie’s estate, located at present-day Birkenhead Point. Scenes from the first race are seen in Five-Dock grand steeple-chase, 1844.

The scenes depicted in Five-Dock grand steeple-chase reflect changes stages usually included in British works of similar race events, including the start or first leap, floundering in the brook, clearing a fence or wall, and the finish.

Saving Planet Earth

Barry Jones AC was a very special guest at our just completed Scone Literary (‘Writers’) Festival: Sunday 11th November 2018. At compere Phillip Adams request Barry delivered his ‘Gettysburg Address’ as recorded in the ‘The Saturday Paper’, Saturday 10th November 2018. I repeat the written version here for those who were neither able to read the text in ‘The Saturday Paper’ or hear the cosmic address.

Featured Image: Shakespeare Cartoon SMH December 26-27, 2020

Barry Jones
“Saving Planet Earth”

See: https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2018/11/10/saving-planet-earth/15417684007117

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Democracy Recession

Democracy Recession

Featured Image: ‘Democracy Recession’ Cartoon by Wilcox

Approaching 2021 and as we contemplate the inchoate changeover in the White House (perhaps) are we entitled to feel a tad cynical about ‘DEMOCRACY’ and its most topical iteration(s) in the 21st century? I’ve been struggling with some aspects myself in recent and not so recent times. Some years ago I started to compile a dossier of quotations from books I’ve read. It’s not a long list but accurately reflects the views of a few percipient philosophers over a period of time?

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Les McKeand: Olympic Veterinarian

Les McKeand: Olympic Veterinarian

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_McKeand

Featured image: Les McKeand at the 1950 British Empire Games

It’s a very sad and poignant tale but one of the very first ‘pioneer’ veterinarians in the Upper Hunter Valley was there for only a very short duration. Les McKeand was tragically killed in a motor accident near Denman in 1950 not long after competing in the Empire Games in Auckland, NZ. He was 26 years old. McKeand had attended Sydney University in 1943–1948 and graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1949.

Leslie “Les” Alexander H. McKeand (17 September 1924 – 11 November 1950) was an Australian triple jumper and javelin thrower. In the triple jump he won the national title in 1950 and a silver medal at the 1950 British Empire Games, placing seventh at the 1948 summer Olympics in London. In the javelin, his best result was seventh place at the 1950 British Empire Games.

Les was a native of ‘Kyogle’ NSW. His Athletics Club was the Royal Australian Air Force, Canberra.

It’s quite likely Les would have known the Scone ‘veterinary pioneers’ Murray Bain and Frank Williams who set up practice there in 1950.

There have been many very fine veterinarians who excelled in sport in the Upper Hunter; notably Rugby. However I think Les is the only Olympian?

Melbourne Cup 150th Anniversary Tour 15th October 2010

Melbourne Cup 150th Anniversary Tour 15th October 2010

Featured Image: Geoff White and the author with five (5) Melbourne Cups; ‘Poitrel’ (1920), ‘Rimfire’ (1948), ‘Evening Peel’ (1956), ‘Kensai’ (1987) and 2010 later won by ‘Americain’

Mayor’s Speech

Welcome to Victoria Racing Board director Mrs Amanda Elliott, VRC Ambassador Mr Des Gleeson, accompanying Melbourne Cup personnel, Sponsors, Councillors, and members of the UHSC community.

The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops the nation and in 2010 the famous race celebrates its 150th Anniversary.  Scone has embraced the spirit of this anniversary tour and has played host to a wide range of related activities this week. These activities have included: a race fanfare musical playoff and national anthem singing competition local schools, an open day at Invermien Stud,  and a ‘Track Truths’ session yesterday which saw ABC reporter Mike Pritchard interview local Melbourne Cup personality Greg Bennett.

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