Dealers in equestrian feed, medicine, and tack used large pottery horses, such as the present example, in their display windows to draw in customers. England has a long history of equestrian culture, and in the first half of the 19th century, this culture was at its peak. Before the proliferation of railways and the steam engine, horses were the main mode of transport and the primary power source for key industries, including agriculture and mining. The Leeds pearlware models have been described as ‘amongst the most striking figures ever made’ (see Pat Halfpenny, English Earthenware Figures, 1740-1840, Woodbridge, 1991, p. 127).
Today the Leeds horses represent a bygone era.
Examples can be found in the Yorkshire Museum, the Leeds Museums and Art Galleries (Temple Newsam House), and was featured in an exhibition there during an exhibition which ran June 1- October 30, 2005, in The Leeds Pottery 1770 – 1881. Another similar horse is at The Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, Scotland (GLS 314039). Also see Griselda Lewis, A Collector’s History of English Pottery, p. 123; also John and Griselda Lewis, Pratt Ware, 1780-1840 (1984), p. 65 and Pat Halfpenny, English Earthenware Figures 1740-1840 (1991), p. 126.
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