Animal art in the spotlight

A flurry of exhibitions featuring horses, hounds and hunting-notable for women artists being at the forefront-is taking place in the next fortnight. Tonight, leading Flat trainer Sir Mark Prescott will announce prize-winners at the annual Society of Equestrian Artists’ show, ‘The Horse in Art’, this time held at the Menier Gallery on Southwark Street, London SE1 (until December 1, of the society’s members, Dorset-based Michelle McCullagh, is having her first solo show, at the Osborne Studio Gallery on Motcomb Street (until December 11, www. Miss McCullagh, 26, who is the partner of Olympic shooting gold medallist Peter Wilson, specialises in racehorses, often with a ‘ghosting effect’. Her career was given a boost when Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud chose her as the artist to illustrate its 2012 stallion brochure.

Also in London, for today and tomorrow only, is Dede Gold’s solo exhibition ‘A Rogues Gallery’ at Gallery 8 on Duke Street (www. Mrs Gold, who was brought up in Ireland, started her career as a law graduate and gallery manager-she now runs the Lavender Hill Studios atelier school, London SW11-before turning to painting animals, especially dogs, after ‘a defining encounter’ with a liverchestnut dalmatian. Many of her subjects are local Battersea rescue cases.

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In Newmarket, Suffolk, Jo Taylor makes history as the first female artist to be given a solo exhibition in the Jockey Club Rooms, where the walls are lined with works by the likes of Stubbs and Herring. Miss Taylor’s works are owned by the Duke of Westminster, trainers Nicky Henderson and Alan King, bookmaker Victor Chandler and film-maker Steven Spielberg, who was given one of her War Horse pictures. ‘Drawn from Life’, on December 1-4, is held in the private Coffee Room, where racing’s hierarchy has been meeting since the 18th century (www.mcmastertims. The paintings can also beseen ringside during Tattersalls’ mare and foal sales in December.

Finally, for something different, the Art Stable in Dorset has ‘Love on the Hunting Field’, a collection of paintings by Maria Carleton telling the not entirely chaste story of how her hard-riding heroine, Miss Alicia Keene, gets her man, Sir James James. The exhibition runs until December 15-the gallery, at the Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford, is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10am-3pm (

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