Horse from Jilly Cooper novel immortalised in a painting

A character from a Jilly Cooper story has been immortalised in a painting. But it’s not a heroine or dashing rogue, it’s a horse — Mrs Wilkinson, the star of Jilly’s most recent novel, Jump!

The painting by Michelle McCullogh depicts the diminutive grey who, after a traumatic start to life, goes on to win the Grand National.

Jilly was so thrilled when she saw the work on display in London last month that she bought it for herself.

Michelle first met the author when Jilly admired her painting Remembering His Last Race.

“Jilly wrote to me out of the blue to say how much she loved this painting and how much it reminded her of the book she was writing at the time,” said Michelle.

“She kindly sent me a copy of Jump! and it was the best thing I have ever read.

“I was so absorbed every time I picked it up and I had such a clear image of the star of the story, Mrs Wilkinson — a small grey filly with one eye.

“As I came near to finishing the book I knew Mrs Wilkinson had to be featured in my exhibition.”

“It is wonderful,” Jilly told H&H. “I’m thrilled with it; she’s really captured Mrs Wilkinson.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (31 January 2013)