A large and striking oil on canvas of a saddled dark bay horse in a stable, signed and dated, bottom right Margaret Collyer 1912.
British School early 20th century.
Framed in a bevel maple veneered frame with gold slip.
Sight: 27.5" x 35" (70cm x 89cm)
Frame: 33.5" x 41" (85cm x 105cm)
Margaret Collyer 1872 - 1945, is known for her expert equestrian and canine paintings. From her early years she loved both painting and animals. She had little tuition, but at 18 she went occasionally to the Animal Painter's Studio in Gower Street, London where "I learn't nothing." Quite a formidable lady and not to be messed with I suspect!
She had paintings accepted by the Royal Academy each year from 1897 until 1910. She was an unusual sporting artist, and she does not fit in with her contemporaries. Her style was very much to concentrate on the animal portrayed, with scant attention to the background, which is often painted in a free manner devoid of detail.
At the outbreak of the 1914 War, she went to Boulogne to be a nurse in an Allied Hospital. In the spring of 1915, the hospital was closed and she took up her sister Olive's suggestion that she should join her in Kenya.
In Kenya she became a pioneer farmer mainly in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains where she had less opportunity to paint.
Margaret Collyer published her autobiography, An Artist's Life, in 1935, without illustrations - strangely - when living in Kenya. Later her twin great-nieces gathered over fifty photographs of the artist's oil paintings and drawings to add to the original text, giving a new edition the title: A Vivid Canvas. This book was brought out by Librario Publishing Ltd., Kinloss, Scotland in 2008.
A Vivid Canvas provides a self-portrait of the artist painted in 1929. We see a rather severe, spectacled, face beneath a head of cropped hair of the period. What is quite evident from the text is that Margaret Collyer was a forthright, outspoken woman who did not suffer fools, but benefitted from immense determination, energy and courage.
Thanks to the 'Sporting Notes and Queries' web site for some of this background material.