A former jump jockey is paying his own tribute to the horses of World War I in the centenary year — with a new sculpture exhibition.
Philip Blacker — who rode 340 winners and was placed in the Grand National three times — retired in 1982 and turned his hand to art.
The exhibition combines sculpture and painting based on the horses — one of which was Warrior, who was recently awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery in combat.
The horse was ridden in the war by General Jack Seeley, grandfather of H&H columnist and Philip’s friend Brough Scott.
In 2013 Brough commissioned Philip to produce a sculpture that would immortalise Warrior.
Philip said his inspiration for friezes comes from a variety of sources including painting, poems, letters and songs.
“These words allowed my imagination to perceive them through the medium of relief panels,” he said.
“They are just my interpretation. I have not focused on the tragedy of the war itself, that having been well chronicled, but more of life behind the lines. Where the front line has been depicted it is usually in a moment of reflection.
“My love of creating horses in bronze on a large scale has led me to want to put them in context somehow. This led on to my interest in friezes where this aspect became possible. The friezes and the subject of the WW1 just seemed to work together.”
Modelling and casting takes two to three weeks. After casting the works are patinated by applying chemicals to the hot bronze.
The exhibition opens at Thompson’s Gallery, London on 5 November, ahead of Remembrance Day.
For more information visit: www.philipblacker.com
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (30 October 2014)