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The late Sir Henry Cecil’s wish to see his legendary champion FRANKEL painted in oils in the style of George Stubbs has now been achieved by equine artist Nichola Eddery and the painting is exhibited at Palace House, Newmarket during the SEA Summer Exhibition.
FRANKEL, unbeaten in his 14-race career, was the highest-rated racehorse in the world in 2011. At the end of his triumphant first season in 2010 equine artist Michael Jeffery had a unique vision to immortalise the horse in a setting that drew upon the George Stubbs painting of GIMCRACK on Newmarket Heath.
Sir Henry Cecil visited Michael Jeffery’s studio to discuss the early stages of the project. Both gentlemen were at the time in substantial cancer treatments and tragically both succumbed to cancer before completion.
Nichola Eddery – ‘Legends’ (Oil on canvas, 36.5×72.5″)
Sponsor Peter Merchant subsequently asked internationally-renowned equine artist Nichola Eddery for her advice about retrieving the project and it was agreed that she would renew the idea. Nichola was given access to all of Jeffery’s notes, sketches, photography and preliminary oil-work. She was also granted permission to visit FRANKEL to take her own reference.
She has named the completed painting ‘Legends’ to encompass horse, trainer and George Stubbs himself. Her recreation of FRANKEL’s 2,000 Guineas features travelling head lad Michael McGowan, stable lad Sandeep Guavaram, FRANKEL himself, jockey Tom Queally, trainer Sir Henry Cecil and the runners from the race (in order from left to right: 2nd DUBAWI GOLD, 3rd NATIVE KAHN, 4th SLIM SHADEY, 5th FURY and FRANKEL’s pacemaker REROUTED) in the Stubbs setting of Newmarket Heath with the Rubbing Down House as a background. This 72.5x 36.5” Oil-on-canvas finished piece turns the project full-circle.
Lady Cecil, Tom Queally and Lord Grimthorpe (racing manager to FRANKEL’s owner HRH Prince Khaled Abdullah) voiced their support and approval before the painting’s first public showing in 2016.
The SEA Summer Exhibition
- Open daily from 10am to 5pm and opens from 9am on race days (13-15th July), the exhibition closes on Sunday 16th July at 12 Noon
- The Summer Exhibition is free-to-view and the Heritage Centre is packed with interesting exhibits of its own and full price tickets for the museum are valid for up to 12 months
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