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Places to See
First Posted: Oct 11, 2011
May 27, 2013

In the Blacksmith Shop Exhibit

Gallery Pictures of Exhibition: In the Blacksmith Shop

My husband and I recently enjoyed an exhibit at the National Sporting Library. The exhibit is entitled "In the Blacksmith Shop." We also attended the opening of the new Museum, as well. This proved to be a wonderful and informative day. The following is reproduced with the permission of the Sporting Library. It is their official press release. Following the official press release is some information provided by me through my research as well as images taken and copyrighted by HorseHints.org. I am preparing some galleries of pictures which will be uploaded soon.

Note added by me: The downstairs of The Sporting Library Building, where the Farrier Exhibit is housed, is in honor of Forrest Mars, Sr. The Mars family were equestrians and the Mars Bar, Snickers, was named after one of their horses. "A milk chocolate bar filled with peanut butter nougat, roasted peanuts and caramel makes Snickers the best-selling candy bar. According to Mars Incorporated, there are 16 peanuts in Snickers. The United Kingdom and Ireland sell it as the Marathon bar. The name Snickers comes from a horse owned by the Mars family. Snickers come in the form of candy bars, ice cream bars, deep-fried and ice cream. Find deep-fried Snickers at state fairs."


DATE August 18, 2011

FROM: The National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, Virginia
CONTACT: Mickey Gustafson
540-687-6542, ext. 23 mgustafson@nsl.org

Caption: Géricault, Théodore (French), The Flemish Farrier, from "Various Subjects Drawn from Life on Stone," also called "The English Series," 1821. Crayon lithograph on paper. Courtesy of the VMFA: Museum Purchase, The George Corbin Harwell and Kathleen Leigh Williams Harwell Fund.

In the Blacksmith Shop Exhibit
Opens at the National Sporting Library and Museum
August 16 - December 30, 2011

Photo Copyright HorseHints.org

MIDDLEBURG, Virginia - Three prints depicting blacksmiths at work from the 18th and 19th centuries are the inspiration for In the Blacksmith Shop at the National Sporting Library and Museum's Forrest E. Mars, Sr. Exhibit Hall. Rare books, horse shoes of different equine occupations, and blacksmith tools show the history of the farrier at work. Of special interest are shoes from Animal Kingdom, Man O' War, Gallahadion, and Hirapour. The exhibit runs from August 16 - December 30, 2011. The NSLM is free and open to the public. Hours are 11 - 4

Tuesday through Friday and 1 - 4 Saturday. www.nsl.org
The three historic prints are on loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. They are by English artists Joseph Wright (1734-1797) and George Garrard (1760-1826) and French artist Theodore Gericault (1791-1824). The works illustrate continuity in the world of the farrier by portraying the tools and the methods of horseshoeing during the 18th and 19th centuries. Gericault's image of a Flemish farrier is plate four from "Various Subjects Drawn from Life on Stone," in 1821. Garrard's picture of a farrier within the center of a village shows the importance of the craft to everyday life. Joseph Wright, a master of chiaroscuro (an interplay of light and dark), gives the scene a romantic, noble cast.

Rare books from the Library's collection tell the story of the role horseshoes play in the animal's health. The Charles Clark Case Book, a 19th century manuscript of a veterinary surgeon's observations and treatments of hoof diseases, was purchased by the Library in the Duke of Gloucester, 2006, London sale. Charles Clark was the nephew of the famous veterinarian Bracy Clark, early advocate of bare-foot hoof care. Other books from the same era show an interest in developing new systems of shoeing to counter hoof disease and injury. Small books such as The Gentleman's Pocket Farrier (1732) describe hoof diseases and practical observations for the horseman-traveler. In other books, English, French, and Italian methods of shoeing are compared and analyzed.

Of special interest in the exhibit are shoes worn by famous horses. The 2011 winner of the Kentucky Derby, Animal Kingdom, trained by H. Graham Motion, whose family owns a tack store in Middleburg, is represented by two shoes encrusted with Churchill Downs dirt. Other families in the region contributed plate (shoe) mementos of great Thoroughbred racers - Gallahadion, winner of the 1940 Kentucky Derby, and Hirapour, champion steeplechase horse, 2004. A plate worn by Man O'War, one of the most famous horses of all time, was given to the late Paul R. Fout by a childhood friend who was Man O War's blacksmith during the champion's racing days.

As Librarian Lisa Campbell began organizing In the Blacksmith Shop, she found the topic generated a lot of interest. Paintings by members of families involved in the equestrian world were offered to the Library for use in the exhibit. One painting portrays a well-known Washington, D.C., blacksmith, Joseph "Smitty" Vanzego, who spent 60 years shoeing horses at race tracks and stables in the region. A story about his career in the Washington Post (December 16, 2007) tells of Vanzego learning the trade in the army and passing on his skills to two of his sons. In addition to paintings, equine enthusiasts loaned tools, shoes, and other materials. An anatomical example of a horse's leg, loaned by the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center, is on display. Lindsay Berreth, Library Assistant and eventer, created a guide to the bone structure for visitors. Blacksmith tools have been loaned by Mike May, Mid Atlantic Farrier Supply, Aldie, Virginia. The exhibit, installed by Mickey Gustafson, introduces the story of the centrality of the farrier to the equestrian community over many centuries.

In the Blacksmith Shop is suitable for children. Special tours are available for small groups, especially Pony Clubs. They will be led by Lisa Campbell, librarian and equestrian. For more information or to arrange a tour, please contact 540-687-6542 or jsheehan@nsl.org. The National Sporting Library and Museum, located in beautiful, historic Middleburg, Virginia, celebrates the opening of its Sporting Art Museum in October, 2011. The Library, founded in 1954, is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and sharing the literature, art, and culture of equestrian and field sports and we are pleased to announce the addition of our Museum. The institution has expanded to become an important research facility and art museum with over 17,000 books and works of art in the collections. The John H. Daniels Fellowship program supports scholarship. Information is shared through exhibits, lectures, seminars, publications, and special events. The NSLM is open to the public.

For More Information:

The National Sporting Library
Horse's Role in Civil War

Places to See