Lot 80
  • 80


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  • Horse in the Rain VI
  • SOLDsigned and numbered 2/10, 1985
  • bronze
  • length: 42.5cm.; 16¾in.


With Waddington Galleries, London;Where acquired by the family of the present owner;

Thence by descent.


London, Beaux Arts, Frink, 7 June - 8 July 2006, reproduced p. 23 (another cast).


E. Lucie-Smith, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture Since 1984 and Drawings, London, 1994, cat. no. SC18, reproduced p. 184 (another cast);
A. Ratuszniak (ed.), Elisabeth Frink Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture 1947-93, Farnham, 2013, cat. no. FCR349, reproduced p. 172 (another cast).

Catalogue Note

‘The horse sculptures are nothing to do with the horses you see here in England – the hunter, the show horse, the race horse. They’re much more to do with the ancient spirit of the horse and with its evolution in relation to man… The fact that I was brought up with horses and taught to ride from an early age had no bearing on the horses I did in France. Those came because I discovered the Camargue… I used to go down to the Camargue and ride with the local cowboys.’ 1 

Elisabeth Frink was a close friend of Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who acquired the monumental War Horse in 1991 for the grounds of Chatsworth. The addition of Frink’s War Horse was the first contemporary sculpture to be added to the collection in one hundred and fifty years. War Horse was originally positioned at the south end of the canal pond opposite a bronze head of Frink by artist Angela Connor, commissioned later by the 11th Duke, to put Frink and her sculpture in dialogue. In 2007 the sculpture was moved, fittingly, to the entrance of the stables.


The 12th Duke commented: ‘Liz Frink insisted that her sculpture was to be touched and sat upon and so it is gratifying to see the shiny marks where many children have sat to be photographed and to pretend to be riding this great beast. I hope that they noticed the eyes of the horse which have horse-shoe shapes cut into them; that combined with the flattened ears, gives this animal a very fierce appearance, as you would expect for a War Horse.’ 


The horse is one of Frink’s most iconic motifs, one of her most beloved and famed. The present work, Horse in the Rain VI, is a tenderly realised sculpture of the horse caught in a steady downpour; the series occupied the artist for just under a decade. ‘If you love animals you have to have some sort of sympathy with the way they are or exist, and how we treat them. If I'm sculpting animals I don't want to over sentimentalise them because one can be very sentimental about that part of our life. I'd find it a very sad life without animals: we need them, that's the awful thing... This is another reason why I'm not a true animal sculptor. The animals I make are far more what I feel about them than what they are in real life... I'm much more interested in the spirit of the animal. I get into the inside of the animal, and the outside takes care of itself '.

E. Lucie-Smith & E. Frink, Frink A Portrait, London, 1994, p. 50.
2  Ibid. pp. 121-23.