Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. 1802 - 1873
Horse's head with reins and blinkers, in profile
Photo: R.A.
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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Horse's head with reins and blinkers, in profile, ca.1810
Pencil on cream wove paper, 103 X 107 mm
Given by Sir John Aird, 1883
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The young Edwin Landseer produced a prodigious number of studies from horses. Most of these early drawings depict the working carthorses or farm horses he would have seen around him, wearing their reins and nosebags. Landseer could have drawn horses like these in London but he also visited the Essex countryside where Mr W.W. Simpson, a friend and patron of the Landseer family, owned a farm.

In 1814, Landseer was awarded the silver 'Isis' medal by the Society of Arts for a drawing of a ‘Hunting Horse’. However, despite his early enthusiasm for drawing horses, dogs were to become the main focus of his adult work. There are a few notable exceptions, however, including 'The Arab Tent' (1866) and ‘Taming the Shrew’ (1861).