Equinity | State Library of New South Wales


This exhibition celebrates the horse in colonial art and life. It reveals the diverse and significant role of the horse, its status in the colony and the varied approaches taken toward its visual representation by both professional and amateur artists.

Since racehorses and pedigree horses were so highly prized, they were often depicted in refined portraits commissioned from professional artists or occasionally included in portraits with their proud owners.

Many sports relied on the horse, including racing, steeplechasing and hunting, and the popularity of these sporting pursuits saw them feature regularly in artworks.

The working horse was used as a saddle, pack, draught and carriage animal in the city and bush, and played a key role in early exploration — these roles are also extensively documented.

These artworks reflect the desire of settlers to recreate aspects of the English lifestyle and highlight the adaptations required to accommodate the colonial environment.

Open: 8 October 2007 – 13 January 2008
Picture Gallery
State Library opening hours
Admission: Free