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Modern & Post-War British Art

Power at Rest: Dame Elisabeth Frink’s Lying Down Horse

Horses were a lifelong passion for the artist Elisabeth Frink and when you mention her name to many a collector these will be the very first pieces that spring to mind. Like Munnings, Frink depicted her equine subjects with a warmth and knowing familiarity – you could tell when she clearly adored them, or when, in some situations these troublesome beasts with sparking tempers, were just waiting to toss back their heads and rear off into the distance.

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DAME ELISABETH FRINK, HORSE & RIDER, CIRCA 1950S. ESTIMATE £4,000–6,000.

Frink had ridden from a young age at home in Suffolk, and her work had featured themes of the horse and rider from as early as the 1950s, as seen in Horse & Rider, an early work on paper, included in the Made In Britain auction on 5 April.

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DAME ELISABETH FRINK, LYING DOWN HORSE, 1978. ESTIMATE £60,000–80,000.

But it was her move to the South of France in 1967 that reignited her passion. It was the horses of the Camargue, famed for their wild nature that brought a new strand of understanding to her interpretation of the subject. Frink was drawn to the sense of timeless connection between man and horse – developing on from her earlier themes. But it is in her solitary figures of the animals, often at rest, that the warmth and familiarity she felt for the animals really shines through, as seen in her beautiful Lying Down Horse, 1978, also featured in the Made In Britain auction.

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ELISABETH FRINK, WORKING ON PLASTER OF WAR HORSE. WOOLLAND STUDIO, DORSET, 1991.

To look at Frink’s equine sculptures you are able to see not only the brilliant skill of one of Britain’s most accomplished sculptors, but also the warmth, love and respect for her subject matter, seen in Lying Down Horse on a scale so beautifully intimate.

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