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Horse and Rider Sculpture

A Grade II Listed Building in Richmond, London

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Latitude: 51.5096 / 51°30'34"N

Longitude: -0.1414 / 0°8'29"W

OS Eastings: 529075

OS Northings: 180606

OS Grid: TQ290806

Mapcode National: GBR DF.D0

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.HBL1

Plus Code: 9C3XGV55+VC

Entry Name: Horse and Rider Sculpture

Listing Date: 25 January 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1461423

Location: Westminster, London, W1S

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: West End

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London


The Horse and Rider sculpture of 1975 by Dame Elisabeth Frink, commissioned by Trafalgar House.


The Horse and Rider sculpture of 1975 by Dame Elisabeth Frink, commissioned by Trafalgar House.

MATERIALS: bronze sculpture on a granite plinth.

DESCRIPTION: at approximately 244cm high, the sculpture is on a rough bronze base signed ‘Frink, 1975’ at the top-left corner. The base tops a granite plinth, which bears the inscription HORSE AND RIDER BY ELISABETH FRINK on the south face. Both the horse and rider are roughly finished, their faces fixed to the south-west in common purpose. The horse is in a walking pose; it has a lightly-stylized mane, a shortened tail and expressionless gaze. It has no saddlery. The rider, a man, has no clothing and is barefoot. Sitting slightly askew astride the horse, his left shoulder is pushed back slightly allowing his arm to drop and his hand to rest casually against the horse’s left flank. His right arm is positioned against his torso, bent forward at the elbow with his hand placed on the horse’s mane. The muscles of both horse and rider are lightly but clearly defined.


The period after 1945 saw a shift from commemorative sculpture and architectural enrichment to the idea of public sculpture as a primarily aesthetic contribution to the public realm. Sculpture was commissioned for new housing, schools, universities and civic set pieces, with the counties of Hertfordshire, London and Leicestershire leading the way in public patronage. Thus public sculpture could be an emblem of civic renewal and social progress. By the late C20 however, patronage was more diverse and included corporate commissions and Arts Council-funded community art. The ideology of enhancing the public realm through art continued, but with divergent means and motivation. Visual languages ranged from the abstraction of Victor Pasmore and Philip King to the figurative approach of Elisabeth Frink and Peter Laszlo Peri, via those such as Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth who bridged the abstract/representational divide. The post-war decades are characterised by the exploitation of new – often industrial – materials and techniques including new welding and casting techniques, plastics and concrete, while kinetic sculpture and ‘ready mades’ (using found objects) demonstrate an interest in composite forms.

Horse and Rider by Dame Elisabeth Frink was completed in 1975, commissioned by Trafalgar House for their site on Dover Street at its junction with Piccadilly. It was modelled in plaster at Frink’s Southwark studio then cast in bronze. Frink described it as an ageless symbol of man and horse. Another cast of this sculpture was permanently erected in Winchester in 1983 and it too is listed at Grade II (NHLE 1445381). The structure was moved to its present location in 2016, when planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of the Dover Street site.

Frink (1930-1993) was born in Suffolk and attended the Guildford School of Art in 1947, and then Chelsea School of Art in 1949-1953. Her first major public commissions were the Harlow New Town Boar and the Blind Beggar and Dog in Bethnal Green. Her preferred sculptural technique involved modelling directly in plaster and then modifying the work with carving tools. Figurative sculpture of animals, particularly horses, and men dominated her work, earning Frink a national and international reputation. Five of Frink’s sculptures are listed including the Blind Beggar and Dog (Grade II*, 1958, NHLE 1031598): the Desert Quartet sculptures at Montague Shopping Centre in Worthing (Grade II*, 1989, NHLE 1391960) and the Crucifix for the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool she completed in the year of her death (the Cathedral is listed at Grade II*, NHLE 1070607). She was elected a Royal Academician in 1977 and awarded a DBE in 1982.

Reasons for Listing

The sculpture of the Horse and Rider by Dame Elisabeth Frink, 1975, on the corner of New Bond Street and Burlington Gardens, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Artistic interest:

* a sculpture of high artistic and aesthetic quality, cast in bronze from plaster, subtly detailed and well-composed.

Historic interest:

* as a piece commissioned by a commercial developer from the internationally renowned artist Dame Elisabeth Frink and representative of a recurrent theme in her oeuvre.

Group value:

* with a number of listed buildings in the immediate vicinity.

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