The Cast of a Horse

I was asked to give a talk this morning to an all-staff meeting held in the RA Schools.   I found myself admiring the cast of a horse which half dominates the space in an unobtrusive manner and wondering about its history.   The students in the Schools were required to draw from the antique.   Hence the presence of large numbers of casts of statues from the antique.   Then they graduated to drawing from the living model.   I don’t know if they were also expected, like Stubbs, to know and understand the anatomy of a horse.   And I haven’t been able to find out much about the history of the horse, apart from the fact that it is sometimes thought – presumably wrongly – to be a cast of Copenhagen, Wellington’s horse at Waterloo;  and that it was given to the Schools in 1919 by F.W. Calderon, who ran a School of Animal Painting:-

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One thought on “The Cast of a Horse

  1. How right you are! The Cast has been a hugely neglected element of art education for too long.

    Of course the V&A has wonderful casts, though not many of humans and animals, and the Ashmolean has a very fine collection but, like Taxidermy, the Cast hafallen from grace somewhat. Let’s hope the New RA Schools will re-establish it.

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