Made of pewter this toy knight dates from 1300. It seems Medieval boys enjoyed playing with toy soldiers just as they do now in the 21st Century. This little figure is now in the Museum of London where many pieces of evidence can be found dating from Roman times that show us horses have always been part of the lives of London inhabitants.
A Medieval curb and bridoon? In the 1300’s special smiths made different types of horse equipment. In 1327 there were inter-trade disputes that lead to fighting in the streets involving loriners, saddlers and others. Several men were killed in the fighting! I had never heard of loriners before today but the Worshipful Company of Loriners is one of the ancient livery companies of the City of London and dates from 1261. It was originally a trade association that made metal parts for bridles and harness and also saddle trees. There is a good website to see what they do now. http://www.loriners.co.uk In January 2013, British Paralympians Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker were admitted to the Company as Honorary Freemen and they join many other distinguished horsemen and horsewomen.
HORSES IN MODERN ART IN LONDON
This is a photo John Bartlett’s painting of the Poll Tax riot in Trafalgar Square in March 31,1990. Bartlett said the painting was not intended to have any particular political standpoint. He chose the subject to “convey action and a historical moment”. The Poll Tax was widely unpopular as it did not take into account any difference between rich and poor. In the end it was historically a very important moment as it heralded the end of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.
This sculpture, outside the Museum of London, is by Christopher le Brun, 2001. The image of horse and discs is common in his work. Christopher le Brun explains his use of this image:” When you talk about horses and riders in my work it is important to me that they are not seen as real….I think of it as an entrance or key to the place that I want to enter. It’s as if ‘the horse’ enables the journey rather than providing the final subject.”
As a rider I can certainly understand that. Horses enable me to enter many places both real and metaphysical that I would otherwise never be able to visit. Isn’t that true for all of us who ride and love horses?