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polo pony, Humber Estuary, 1970s, oil on canvas, 2012

polo pony, Humber Estuary, 1970s, oil on canvas, 2012

This painting combines two traditional genres: animal painting and landscape. It is a winter or early spring scene during the 1970s. The beach is between Cleethorpes and Humberston looking toward the Humber Estuary and the North Sea. When the tide is out huge expanses of sand are exposed. On the horizon to the right is a derelict military relic - the Haile Sand fort (built 1915-19) and beyond that Spurn point lighthouse across the Humber in Yorkshire. As a boy, I used to walk out to the fort even though it was dangerous to do so because of quicksand and rapidly moving water when the tide turned. On the beach a rider exercises her horse. There were often horses on the beach because they were used to play polo. A viewer once asked me what the significance of the horse was. No symbolism was intended. Sometimes, in a picture, a horse is just a horse.

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