‘Racehorse on Newmarket Heath with a Rubbing Down House’ - Ripley 2014
Ripley's homage to the English painter George Stubbs (1724-1806). Stubbs was renowned for portraying the many Rubbing Down Houses in Newmarket, England, within his compositions in the late 18th century.
The building featured in the portrait is the last surviving Rubbing Down House on Newmarket Heath which has been extensively renovated in post-production to ensure the image was respectful to the original concept; the building these days has steel doors and plastic guttering, all removed for this final image (new interiors were also added).
In the picture the foreground scene is juxtaposed with the modernity of the Millennium Grandstand on the distant horizon. The image is made up of many separate elements (see; method), foreground pathway, grass, buildings, sky. The horse was photographed separately in his training yard with his regular groom in a very relaxed environment using natural light.
This Rubbing Down House was also used by Sir Alfred Munnings (equine artist) as his studio when he painted in Newmarket.
The portrait was first exhibited at The Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket (UK) in July 2014. A solo exhibition entitled 'Ripley - The July Week Exhibition'. In October 2017 it was presented at The Munnings Art Museum where Ripley was invited as the speaker for the inaugural Munnings Birthday Lecture.
The picture was awarded 2nd place in the Fine Art category at the International Photography Awards 2014.
“At first glance, they look like old masters. The grandeur of the composition, the richness and texture of the image - all would befit an 18th century oil painting.
But Ripley’s horse portraits are photographs; artfully assembled and digitally enhanced, but photographs all the same. They’re mesmerising …..”
- Alice Ryan, Cambridge Magazine
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