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Sporting Art

Pebble Hill Plantation Museum

 Turkey Shooting

Elisabeth (Pansy) Ireland Poe, one of the twentieth century’s most renowned sportswomen, was Pebble Hill’s owner from 1936 until 1978.  She coupled her interest in equestrian activities with her interest in fine art to amass one of the nation’s most outstanding collections of Sporting Art.  She had an excellent eye for quality and the ability to select the very best that came on the market.  When looking at the promotional materials sent to Pansy and seeing what she didn’t buy, it is obvious that her understanding of art was unquestionably first-rate.  Additionally, she decided around 1950 that Pebble Hill was to become a museum upon her death and it is most probable that while selecting art works that she personally loved, she was concerned about the scope necessary for a collection to have real scholarly merit.

 Hounds in a Kennel

Sporting Art is a small genre of English Art.  The earliest interest seen in sporting subjects was around 1675 when Francis Barlow became the first really successful English artist to specialize in birds and animals.  He was an accomplished painter, printmaker and book illustrator.  A folio of his prints published in 1671, entitled Several Ways of Hunting, Hawking, and Fishing, Invented by Francis Barlow, earned him the title "the father of British sporting painting." In slightly less than one hundred years, George Stubbs had published his book “Anatomy of a Horse” and was developing a painting style that marks him as the preeminent master whose works mark the beginning of the “Golden Age of Sporting Art.”  Sir Alfred Munnings, whose career spans the first half of the twentieth century, is the artist with whom the Golden Age draws to  a close.

The Pebble Hill Collection contains work by all of the major British masters, with the exceptions of Barlow and Stubbs, and the center piece is Munnings’ masterpiece, “My Horse is My Friend.”

My Horse is My Friend

Sporting Art became a favorite in America and the genre was well established here by immigrant artists early in the nineteenth century.  Edward Troye, Swiss by birth, British by training, immigrated to Philadelphia in 1831.  He became known after he exhibited 3 paintings of horses in the Philadelphia Academy of Art Show, 1832, and began a successful career traveling the country painting winning thoroughbred race horses of the nineteenth century.  The Pebble Hill Collection begins with Troye and continues into the third quarter of the twentieth century with such famous artists as Aiden Ripley and Ogden Pleissnner.

Hound Study

Come and enjoy Pansy’s wonderful collection of Sporting Art. Additionally, Pansy’s mother Kate Hanna Ireland Harvey collected thirty three 1st edition plates from Audubon’s Birds of North America. These are exhibited primarily in the first floor hallways.  The Museum at Pebble Hill is outstanding! Stop in and see for yourself!

Wellesley Arabian


Major English Sporting Artists in the PHP collection
Francis Sartorius 1734     1804  
Charles Towne 1763 1835  
Ben Marshall 1767 1835  
George Armfield 1808 1893  
John F. Herring, Jr. 1820 1907  
John Emms 1843 1912  
John Carlton 1847 1917  
Thomas Blinks 1860 1913  
Walter Hunt 1861 1941  
Sir Alfred Munnings 1878 1956  
Major American Sporting Artists in the PHP collection
Edward Troye 1808 1878 (Swiss)
Arthur Tait 1819 1905 (English)
James Long Scudder 1836 1881  
Edmund Osthaus 1858 1938 (German)
Maud Erl 1864 1943 (English)
Lynn Bogue Hunt 1878 1960  
Richard Bishop 1887 1975  
J. Clinton Shepherd 1888 1975  
Gene Pullen 1890 1952  
Paul Brown 1893 1959  
Aiden Ripley 1896 1964  
Hughlette "Tex" Wheeler                    1901          1954  
Ogden Pleissner 1905 1983  
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