Art in the field
The Field|January 2022
Madeleine Bunbury is travelling the globe to find 80 subjects to fill her life-size canvases. Janet Menzies tries to think of 80 breeds
Janet Menzies

EQUINE portraitist Madeleine Bunbury, like a magnificent mounted Phileas Fogg, has declared her intention of going Around the World in Eighty Horses. When we spoke she was already in America and about to paint an iconic Western mustang as well as a racehorse and a hunter.

“It would be a different breed of horse in each country, although I’m not even sure if there are 80 different breeds,” confesses Bunbury, and then we start counting: “Well, I’m off to Argentina next, so I could do the Criollo, and then I’m in India this winter, which means the Marwari with those incredible ears. And Lipizzaners in Austria, and Andalusians in Spain, oh, and I definitely want to do a Mongolian…”

Bunbury has made a good start just in England, with a wonderful collection of near-life-size hunters, thoroughbreds, polo ponies, hacks and riding ponies in her portfolio. She explains: “Coming from Martinique originally, I didn’t really have anywhere to live when I first came back to England from studying in Italy.” So she more or less stable-surfed in the shires. “I would stay with different friends who had horses and would paint their horses in return for board and lodging. Mainly it would be their hunters and riding horses.”

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