Portraits and pedigrees | State Library of New South Wales

Portraits and pedigrees

With the cult of thoroughbred horse ownership on the rise, professional artists such as Edward Winstanley (1820-1849) and Joseph Fowles (1810-1878) quickly found a market for horse portraits. Amateur artist James Lethbridge Templer (1811-1845) possessed 'an absolute passion for the horse' and documented his career as a horse-breeder through his rather naive watercolours.

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The first official attempt to document the bloodlines of the colony's thoroughbreds and racehorses was made by Fowler Boyd Price. The Stud book of New South Wales contained pedigrees of race horses from the earliest arrivals in the colony, and was published in Sydney in 1859.

 > Look inside the Stud book of New South Wales

Look inside the Stud book of New South Wales

The Scott family arrived in New South Wales in 1821. Robert and Helenus Scott acquired a large estate in the Hunter Valley called Glendon. They bred bloodstock horses on Glendon until the property was sold during the 1840s. The papers of Helenus’ wife, Sarah Ann Scott contain notices of horse breeding and sales.

 > Pedigrees and notices re horse breeding & sales from Sarah Anne Scott's papers, c.1845-1892 Link to catalogue

The pedigree and abilities of race horses have always been closely scrutinised. The famous Irish horse, Skeleton, was imported to New South Wales by Alexander Riley of Raby. Doubts began to circulate in the colony about the horse. To counteract these rumours, Riley had letters vouching for the Skeleton’s pedigree and achievements published in London in 1832.

 > Documents substantiating the character and performances of the entire Irish race-horse, Skeleton Link to catalogue