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Original works of art

Benjamin Marshall
(English, 1768 -1834 )

Benjamin Marshall was was one of the most prominent painters of horses and animals during the last decades of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. An artist of considerable talent, he was especially adept at depicting the anatomy and glistening coat texture of thoroughbred horses. Indeed, like other artists of the day, he in 1812 moved his residence to Newmarket, to be close to the race track and stables, the source of many of his customers. While we know little of his early artistic training, there is little doubt that by the 1790's Marshall was completing competent animal portraits, including a portrait of the Prince of Wales’ horse in 1792.

Marshall was an active and successful artist, gaining royal patronage and completing many portraits of horses as well as dogs . He first had his work produced in the influential Sporting Magazine in 1796 and over the years many of his paintings were reproduced in the periodical. It was Marshall’s particular ability to render the anatomy and musculature of horses with such skill that they seemed to emerge from the canvas. Many of his contemporaries, although competent, painted horses that were rather stiff and flat, with somewhat awkward compositions. Marshall’s animals, on the other hand, were well situated in their landscapes, with backgrounds kept to a minimum. Moreover, Marshall’s palette was composed predominantly of umbers and browns.

 

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