Plover (Age 5)1848

by Thomas Balcombe

Champion racehorse stallion Plover was bred from imported stock by Charles Roberts at Walgrove, his thoroughbred stud in Prospect, New South Wales. The popularity of equine portraiture highlights the significance of horses in colonial Australia for transport, communication, land exploration, trade, agriculture, construction, sport and breeding.

Following the arrival of the first horses in 1788, the horse population steadily increased through both importation and breeding. Demand for documenting prized horses and their achievements increased commissions for the work of the colony’s professional artists such as Balcombe, a noted animal painter.

This work is in its original frame, a bevelled timber moulding with corner ornaments composed of chalk and glue. The frame has a matte finish of pure gold leaf. Its original surface was retained during recent conservation treatment.