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The Horse and the Country House: Art, Politics and Mobility

Institute of Continuing Education, Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge 18 – 19 November 2022


George Stubbs, The 3rd Duke of Portland at Welbeck Abbey, 1766, Private Collection

The Attingham Trust is organising a stimulating two-day conference in Cambridge focused on the horse and the country house. Following on from the successful Attingham Study Programme in 2018, issues and themes relating to the equestrian culture associated with these houses will be explored by an international panel of speakers.

Horses, once so vital to the smooth functioning of the country house in England, have, more recently, been marginalized and even omitted from discussions. Existing stable blocks are seldom used for their original purposes and the signs of the working horse and horse-drawn transport are often hard to find. Inside houses, the legacy of the horse in the form of sporting art and racing trophies is more evident, but rarely examined.  The conference will encourage a wide-ranging assessment of the many roles played by horses in country house life. From sporting art and memorabilia, riding dress and horse tack, carriage design, stables and stable servants, mobility and horseracing, it will explore the ways in which the horse has been central to the artistic, social, cultural, and political functions of the country house.

Following an overwhelming response to the call for papers, the advisory committee has selected a varied list of international speakers including representatives of major museums, universities and historic houses. Spread over the two days, there will be sessions on horse welfare, the employment of stable servants, social mobility, women riders and drivers, and the visual representation and material culture of horses.

The cost of in-person registration is £150 and includes two days of lectures, lunch on both days, refreshments, and a drinks reception on the Friday evening. Booking in advance through Eventbrite is essential, owing to limited numbers.


For further information contact Rebecca Parker: