John Vanderbank

Equestrian Design: The Volte Renversée to the Right


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Vanderbank 1694–1739
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 257 × 174 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

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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

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