Tracing the history of horses in art, the British Museum will feature paintings themed around the elegant beasts. The paintings are titled The Horse: from Arabia to Royal Ascot, Horse in Arabia and Derby Day. In the first exhibit is a triangular block that encompasses shell figures on lapis lazuli, which dates back to about 4,500 years ago. Sir Leonard Woolley was responsible for finding the first painting while excavating the Royal Cemetery of Ur located in Mesopotamia. This painting has attracted a large number of visitors especially after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and will be open to viewing until the 30th of September 2012.
The animals in the painting were donkeys of a specific kind, very different from the well built stallions that pulled the chariots of lion hunters of Assyrians that was made 2 millenniums later, around 875 B.C. The horses in the painting slightly resemble the ancient ponies from Egypt that were found on wall paintings in the tomb of Sobekhotep in Luxor. The theme of the paintings includes reminders of one of the most crucial revolutions in history- the revolution of horses and their domestication. Horses have played a significant role in the development of hunting techniques, warfare and travel. Men were able to travel a lot faster when horses were domesticated, bringing about a significant change to the world.
Horse in Arabia and Derby Day
The other paintings that are displayed at the British Museum are the Horse in Arabia and Derby Day. Visitors can view Horse in Arabia through its interactive touch screen. Viewers are given information about the paintings that were made on rock and hailed from Saudi Arabia. After this round of introduction, the viewer is taken to the origins of horse racing in England during the 18th century, which was then known as the sport of queens and kings. Derby Day by William Powell Firth is also featured at the British Museum. This painting focuses on the spectators and the social anarchy associated with viewing one of these events.