The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) presents The Chronicle of the Horse in Art, on view in the Museum from August 26, 2016 through March 26, 2017. This major exhibition, with accompanying catalog, gathers a sampling of forty-six American, British, and Continental oil paintings, watercolors, and sculptures to highlight the variety of material that was placed in front of readers, on the covers of the Chronicle of the Horse, a national equestrian magazine, for almost seventy years.

George Stubbs (British, 1724-1806) Shark With His Trainer Price, 1794 40 1/8 x 50 1/8 inches, oil on canvas Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Paul Mellon Collection. Photo: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Chronicle of the Horse, May 7, 1965
George Stubbs (British, 1724-1806) Shark With His Trainer Price, 1794 40 1/8 x 50 1/8 inches, oil on canvas Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Paul Mellon Collection. Photo: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Chronicle of the Horse, May 7, 1965

The introduction of art to the front cover of The Chronicle began on the August 31, 1945 issue with little fanfare. The periodical was first begun eight years earlier as a local Virginia newspaper under the name The Middleburg Chronicle by Gerald B. Webb and Stacy B. Lloyd, Jr. No explanation for the alteration from the Wall Street Journal-esque all-text format of the cover, overseen by Lloyd, was written in the periodical either prior to or in that seminal 1945 issue.

It was the first of what would become an iconic cover for almost seventy years, reflecting the broad range of expression of classic to contemporary sporting art, the rich history of The Chronicle of the Horse itself, developments in equine sports, and the interests of the equestrians who have followed the national weekly publication for over two generations. 

A fascinating story of the development of some of the important sporting art collections in the United States also unfolded between the pages of the magazine. The Chronicle of the Horse engaged its readers with appealing images that spoke to the audience of breeders, owners, trainers, athletes, and enthusiasts of the various equestrian sports. A comprehensive and eclectic variety of over 3,400 images of paintings, sculpture, illustrations, caricatures, prints, and other objects reflecting equine pursuits were reproduced on the covers between 1945 and 2012.

Not only works with horses appeared on the cover; portraits of foxhounds and even a donkey described as “employed babysitting four young horses” were included. Iconic eighteenth and nineteenth century sporting artists such as George Stubbs, Benjamin Marshall, and John Ferneley, Sr. and artists who attained success in the twentieth century, many during their lifetime, such as Jean Bowman, Sir Alfred Munnings, James Lynwood Palmer, and Richard Stone Reeves were featured. By 1960, The Chronicle had already distinguished itself by highlighting “young painters just getting started, obviously with still a long way to go, but with enough apparent talent to justify a leg up.”

 Among the works that will be included are Shark with his Trainer Price, dated 1775, by George Stubbs (English, 1724–1806) from the Paul Mellon Collection at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Euxton, with John White Up, at Heaton Park, 1829 by John E. Ferneley, Sr. (British, 1782–1860) from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale Center for British Art; five other major paintings from the Yale collection; Scene From A Spaghetti Western, 1998, by Booth Malone (American, b. 1950) from The United States Pony Clubs collection; Turning To Go Down, 1976 by John Rattenbury Skeaping (British, 1901-1980), Saint Nick from the collection of Caroline Moran; and Mongo on the Turf at Laurel Racetrack, Maryland with Charles Burr Up, 1964, by Jean Eleanor Bowman (American, 1917 – 1994) from the National Sporting Library & Museum.

You are invited to a public reception scheduled for will be Saturday, August 27 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at the National Sporting Library & Museum when George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Curator of Art Claudia Pfeiffer will host a coffee reception from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. and then provide a custom tour of the exhibition.

Admission to this event is free to NSLM members and $5 for non-members. Coffee provided by Middleburg Common Grounds. RSVP to Anne Marie Barnes, Educational Programs Manager & Fellowship Advisor, 540-687-6542 ext. 25 or ABarnes@NationalSporting.org.

There is no admission fee to the Library.   The Museum charges $10 for adults, $8 for youths (age 13-18), and $8 for seniors. NSLM members and children age 12 and under are free. Library & Museum hours are Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.