Study for Helios
Lucy Kemp-Welch is one of Britain’s best-known equine artists. Born in Bournemouth, she received informal lessons from local artist Arthur Davis (1847-1895) and formal training from Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849–1914) at his school in Bushey, which she later took over. Over a long and successful career spanning the first half of the 20th century she became a leading painter of horses, famous for her illustrations for Black Beauty and sensitive portrayals of horses at work. Her pictures are informed by her expertise as a horsewoman and love for her equine subjects.
The painting shows four horses energetically pulling a chariot driven by Helios. Helios is the god and personification of the Sun in ancient Greek religion and myth, often depicted in art with a radiant crown and driving a horse-drawn chariot through the sky. He was also a guardian of oaths and god of sight. The work is unfinished.