Village with lightning past

Rouser 2013
Rouser 2013

This photograph tells an equine story.

It shows major artist Lionel Edwards painting a backdrop on Ditchling Beacon in about 1950.

He was connected with East Sussex through his friendship with Bill Clark, a noted breeder of Arab horses who lived in the Offham area, near Lewes.

Lionel Edwards would stay at Bill’s home in order to pursue his favourite subject, hunting and sporting subjects.

Born in Bristol in 1878, he grew up in North Wales following country pursuits rather than a formal education.

From the age of six he had been actively drawing horses and therefore his mother encouraged his artistic vocation. He studied in London at Heatherly’s School of Art, the equivalent of the Atelier Julien in Paris.

He was known as the Grand Old Man of Sporting Art because he was an ardent hunter and brilliant draftsman.

During his lifetime, he wrote and illustrated some 25 books on sporting art including Exmoor Sporting & Otherwise and Black Beauty.

His experience during the First World War in the army remount service, when he had “four solid years of nothing but horse”, brought an exciting realism to his art.

After Sir Alfred Munnings, he was probably the most important sporting artist of the hunting field of the first half of the 20th century.