Major equestrian artist back in the limelight

  • As one of the world’s leading equestrian artists, Susan Crawford’s long awaited solo exhibition in London is destined to be a major attraction.

    The Queen now owns 10 of her paintings and Kerry Packer has her portrait of his polo ponies.

    Susan Crawford’s first solo show for 20 years at London’s Tryon Gallery (13-27 June).

    The artist has dedicated the exhibition to the memory of one of her mentors, the late Stella Walker, the doyenne of sporting art writing who contributed to Horse & Hound for more than 20 years and was a founding trustee of the British Sporting Art Trust. The excellent catalogue contains a tribute to the artist by Prince Charles and an introduction by Lord Oaksey.

    Since her last solo exhibition in 1980, Susan Crawford has been out of the limelight, although she has always been busy with commissions.

    While the racehorse dominates the exhibition, other subjects stretch from early life drawings to seductive paintings of boys with their racing camels in dune and desert settings.

    However, it is the portraits that really catch the eye. Paintings such as High Rise, lent by Mr and Mrs Luca Cumani, the coloured dressage stallion Stanhope’s Diddicoy (Viscount Petersham), Bosra Sham (Wafic Said) in action, and more dramatically, Pilsudski (Lord Weinstock), all cross the threshold beyond being just a record, particularly Pilsudski.

    Among the 25 paintings for sale is a magnificent double portrait of NorthernDancer and Sadler’s Wells.

    Two paintings of a hurdling Istabraq, head portraits of Nashwan and Swain, as well as High Rise and Bosra Sham, polo pictures, Greyhounds, Whippets, camels, Arabian oryx and more drawings almost complete the line-up; but how can Susan Crawford bear to part with Misha, the Artist’s Dog?

    Dubai Millennium’s demise from grass sickness has saddened the whole racing community, so it is some consolation that one of the paintings on show is Montjeu and Dubai Millennium a furlong out – the race that never was. It depicts the heads of two of the greatest late 20th century racehorses, who never got to race against each other. Susan is donating proceeds from the sale of prints of this painting to the Equine Grass Sickness Fund.

    Susan Crawford’s Sand & Turf exhibition is at the Tryon Gallery, 7 Bury Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6AL from 13-27 June. For further details (tel: 020 7839 8083).

  • For full details of Susan Crawford’s exhibition, see Horse & Hound 7 June issue
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