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Famous Horse Artists
First Posted Sept 17,2007
Sep 7, 2010

Richard Roper 1730-1775

by Debora Johnson

Richard Roper was a portrait painter and was also know for his horse, dog, and dead game art. He was not considered a great painter in his time, but rather, an adequate painter. This type of artist is sometimes referred to as untrained or "primitive." He painted precise records of specific animals or sporting events. He was generally commissioned by gentlemen in the sports of horse racing, fox hunting, sport hunting, etc. From 1761-1765 he showed his work at the Society of Artists and Free Society. More of Roper's paintings can be seen at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond. They are in the sporting section: "The Match Between Driver and Aaron at Maidenhead August 1754: Driver Winning the First Heat" and "A Hunter Held By a Stable-Boy for His Master." They are part of the Mellon Collection.

It is interesting to note that the position of the jockey on horses painted by Roper is quite different from the position of the jockey riding today. Today the jockey sits as high on the horse's withers as possible, using short stirrups and short reins. He leans forward on the horse's neck, looking downward over the horse's head. In Roper's time the jockey rode far back in the saddle, in an upright position perpendicular to the horse. The stirrups and reins were long. This was the only style of riding at that time.

A Racehorse Regulus

"Star," A Chestnut With Groom Up

A Racehorse Victorious

The Match Between Driver and Aaron at Maidenhead August 1754: Driver Winning the First Heat, 1754

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Famous Horse Artists