Homage to the Horse

This spring Lexington, Kentucky, home of American horse-racing, is staging a unique exhibition of some of Britain’s most prized equine artefacts. Tracy Powell explains.

Without the accompaniment of horses, England’s nation-building conquests would never have been. Without the contributions of that country’s rich horse heritage, we would be deprived of realising just how critical – and intimate – the relationship is between man and horse.

Both cases justify transporting artefacts valued at roughly $100 million more than 4,000 miles from the United Kingdom to Lexington, Kentucky, where Britain’s historical affair with the horse will be displayed in a special exhibition opening this month.

‘All the Queen’s Horses: the Role of the Horse in British History’ will feature more than 450 artefacts and fifty-eight paintings to explore the rich equestrian heritage of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from 10,000 bc to the present.

The exhibition has been assembled from seventy-eight collections, including the British Museum, British Library, Royal Collections, Royal Armouries, V&A, Tate Britain, the Ashmolean, National Museums of Scotland, National Museums and Galleries of Wales, National Horseracing Museum, Yale Center for British Art and the Museum of London.

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