Laura Gascoigne

An extraordinary woman: The Art of Lucy Kemp-Welch, at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, reviewed

It was fellow animal painter Alfred Munnings who went down in history, however, for his notorious speech at the 1949 Royal Academy banquet

A tour de force of equine group portraiture: ‘Mixed Company at a Race Meeting’, 1905, by Lucy Kemp-Welch [© David Messum Fine Art, Photo credit: Bushey Museum and Art Gallery]

In March 1913 two horse painters met at the Lyceum Club to discuss the establishment of a Society of Animal Painters to raise the profile of their genre. Of the two, it was Alfred Munnings whose profile needed raising. Lucy Kemp-Welch had been a celebrity since her twenties when her 5x10ft canvas ‘Colt Hunting in the New Forest’ caused a sensation at the 1897 RA Summer Exhibition and was purchased by the Chantrey Bequest for the new National Gallery of British Art on Millbank.

She threw herself into every activity she depicted, whether rounding up colts or hauling timber

The daughter of...

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