Shoeing the Bay Mare

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Attributed to James Wheeler of Bath (British painter, 1820-1885) Shoeing the Bay Mare. Copy after Sir Edwin Landseer’s “Shoeing” 1844 oil on canvas.

Bell the Farrier shoeing a large brown horse inside a stable, the donkey with a poppy attached to its bridle with a dog in the front alongside an anvil and other farrier tools.

England, circa 1844-1874

Note: Landseer specialised in painting animals and was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite painters. The original picture was commissioned by Jacob Bell who was one of Landseer's most important patrons. It portrays Bell's mare 'Old Betty'. Bell originally wanted Landseer to depict the mare with her foal. However, Landseer repeatedly put off the commission. By the time he was ready to paint 'Old Betty' the foal had outgrown its mother. In introducing a donkey into the composition Landseer was using a device popular with many other animal painters, whereby the donkey's rough coat is contrasted with the sleekness of the horse.

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