This week’s blog features equine and portrait artist Nichola Eddery, who visited Palace House earlier this year. Daughter of Pat, the legendary Champion jockey, we took the chance to ask Nichola about her thoughts of Palace House and her career as a leading equine and portrait artist.
What were your impressions of Palace House?
I think Palace House is a beautiful, impressive and a truly educational museum. For anyone interested in learning about the history of racing, the racehorse and viewing notable pieces of equine art and horse racing artefacts, there is no better museum.
What were your highlights?
I loved viewing your wonderful art collection and I particularly enjoyed seeing The Stubbs room, the Munnings’ paintings and the remarkable Lucy Kemp Welch painting. I personally found great inspiration seeing Munnings’ ‘The Start’ paintings as I am currently composing a similar painting. The Stubbs’ anatomy drawings were also a great pleasure to see in life too.
The Skating exhibition was also a beautiful collection of paintings and photos and well worth seeing. I learnt it explores the inspiration behind artist’s and photograph’s fascinations with speed and figure skating.
Do you have a favourite painting and why?
I can’t choose between the Munning’s paintings and Lucy Kemp Welch painting. They are all remarkable and especially loved their movement, colour and energy.
How did you first get into equine art?
My path to becoming an equine artist was ignited from being born into a horse racing family and being brought up on a stud. I have ridden all my life, including racehorses and I love everything to do with the sport. My other great passion in life is drawing and painting and I can remember making art from a very young age and being truly captivated when I had my portrait painted at 10 years-old. I was also hugely inspired by my dad’s equine art collection and I always dreamed of being a painter of horses.
What support did you receive from your parents?
I also remember asking my parents at the age of 14 if I could turn their conservatory into a studio which was sadly but understandably refused at the time. My parents always gave me so much encouragement and support and thanks to them I could fuse all my passions together and pursue my dream.
How has your career developed?
From the age of 19 years-old and over several years, I have studied under many leading classical art teachers at ateliers in Italy, France, and the USA. I focused on learning different traditional approaches that originate from methods used by the Old Masters and this is the basis my work. I call myself a representational equine and portrait artist and I love painting both subject matters. I am now 36 years old and I have had the wonderful opportunity to be commissioned to paint famous racehorses and to exhibit in London and internationally.
And you also teach
Last year I founded my own teaching company called Nichola Eddery Atelier and I am currently offering traditional drawing workshops and short courses in renowned London Museums; the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy and the V&A. For keen equine artists who wish to learn the fundamental principles of drawing, I recommend my workshops and short courses in the British Museum where you will learn and draw from the horses from the Parthenon Marbles.
For more info www.nicholaedderyatelier.com.
One of your famous paintings is the one of Frankel and the Rubbing House. Where did you find the inspiration for this piece?
This was a charity project that was a painting initiate by the late Michael Jeffrey and inspired by the enthusiasm of Sir Henry Cecil. After Michael’s death, the sponsor of the project, Peter Merchant asked to take over the project to create my own composition whilst honoring Michael’s concept. The inspiration comes from Stubbs’ famous 1765 painting, ‘Gimcrack on the Newmarket Heath’. The full story of this project can be read on my website www.nicholaeddery.com/project-1.
What are your plans for this year?
This year I am looking forward to a variety of commissions and exhibiting with the Rountree and Tryon Gallery, the Osborne Studio Gallery and potentially the Cross Gate Gallery in Kentucky at the end of the year.
What is your favourite racing memory of your Dad Riding?
Gosh, there were so many. It must have been on Silver Patriarch winning the St Leger in because dad achieved his 4,000th winner from that amazing race.
Have you got a favourite horse and why?
My favourite horse during my life was my wonderful horse called Ben. I competed him for many years and we had an amazing bond. I also loved a racehorse my dad trained called Castles in the Air- I used to ride him out every morning for two years.
How often do you manage to go racing?
When I was younger I went racing all the time, but I now try and attend the more important meets, so about 3-5 times a year.
Blog by Stephen Wallis, Visitor Services
Photo of Silver Patriarch by the late Alec Russell