In the images above and below, workers in the Russian Republic of Tuva excavate fourteen sacrificed horses from a 2,700-year-old Scythian grave. The photographs are by Sisse Brimburg for an article in the June 2003 issue of National Geographic Magazine. This is a modest horse-sacrifice by Scythian standards, as excavations have opened graves containing herds numbering hundreds.

I find the images chime with so many things that move me, and it’s undeniable that here’s the abiding visual theme that’s haunted my work as an artist almost from the beginning.

Above: from the 1999 – 2001 series of work The Mare’s Tale.

Above: from the Old Stile Press 2009 illustrated edition of Sir Peter Shaffer’s play Equus.

Above: maquette for an animated sequence in The Mare’s Tale, a work for chamber-ensemble composed by Mark Bowden with a libretto by Damian Walford Davies, commissioned in 2012 by the Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra. Rehearsals begin this August.

Above: imagery for the MWCO production of The Mare’s Tale.

Above: poster design for The Mare’s Tale.

Above: Mari Lwyd puppet for the MWCO production of The Mare’s Tale.

The Devil’s coach and horses from the MWCO 2013 production of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. (The first performance is on the 28th of this month at the Hay Festival.)

6 thoughts on “horse

  1. I would say the images make for great reference material, but clearly you do not need them. The above work is some of my favorite, visceral stuff.

    • Thank you, Leonard. I simply don’t know what it is that draws me to these ideas. In reality I’d prefer a living horse to a dead one any day. But then I dip my nib into India ink, or reach for the Conté or charcoal, and look what emerges!!!

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