Irish Art

Irish Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 213. Royal Ascot at York.

Peter Curling

Royal Ascot at York

Lot Closed

November 22, 03:13 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 GBP

Lot Details


Peter Curling


Royal Ascot at York

signed P. Curling (lower left)

oil on canvas

unframed: 76.5 by 101cm.; 30 by 39¾in.

framed: 91 by 117.5cm.; 35¾ by 46¼in.

Executed in 2005. 

The Artist
Lee Gallery, Cork
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2006


Peter Curling’s affiliation towards horses spans the length of his career and is vibrantly evidenced in his atmospheric oil painting Royal Ascot at York. Born in Waterford in Southwest Ireland in 1955, Curling’s talented draftsmanship was recognised from an early age and in 1972, he traveled to Florence to study under Signorina Nera Simi. 

Having spent much of his life around horses, Curling continues to turn to the equine subject matter as a point of inspiration. In the present work he depicts one of the most significant moments in recent British racing history when Royal Ascot was held at York during the Berkshire racecourse’s two-hundred million pound restoration in 2005. Drawing our eyes to the centre of the composition through the diagonal lines of the mown grass and orientation of the two jockeys in the foreground, the artist depicts Queen Elizabeth II in the blue dress and hat she was captured wearing on one of the days. Notoriously known for her own love of horses, Curling’s positioning of the late monarch furthermore reiterates the prevalence of this event for fellow racing aficionados. 

Whilst the scheme of the painting is dominated by the thousands of formally dressed attendees, Curling importantly peppers the composition with four horses; three along the right hand side and one positioned amongst the crowds towards the centre left. His precise anatomical portrayal of the horses demonstrates his talent and first-hand experience working with them. Coming together to combine his own passion and artistic ability, Royal Ascot at York is one of Curling’s most animated compositions and testifies to his position as one of Ireland’s greatest living equine painters.