View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Throughout his life Vanderbank suffered periods of financial crisis due to his extravagant way of living. He was nevertheless a dedicated artist, running a successful portrait practice, and was co-founder of the St Martin's Lane drawing academy (which unfortunately folded in 1724 when his debts necessitated a hasty flight to France). He also produced drawings for engraving as book illustrations. This equestrian design relates to the 1729 publication 'Twenty Five Actions of the Manage Horse', a manual on horsemanship and dressage. Vanderbank's designs were engraved by Joseph Sympson, who tells us in the preface to the book that Vanderbank went to the trouble of purchasing a horse to use as a model.
Gallery label, September 2004