Horses in leisure and sporting pursuits

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

Featured Image: ‘The Chase’ (Detail), c. 1856, Samuel Thomas

Horses were the focus of leisure and sporting pursuits, provided unparalleled assistance as working animals and attracted revenue to the colony through the export trade in Walers. For these reasons the horse was a valuable commodity throughout the nineteenth century and held in high esteem.

The settlers’ desire to recreate aspects of the English lifestyle is also reflected in these works, highlighting the adaptation required to accommodate the unique environment of colonial Australia.

The influence of British cultural forms on depicting colonial life is evident, due in part to the ready availability of sporting prints and engravings by British artists, along with the fact that most professional artists working in the colony were born and trained in Europe.