'The Spirit of Windsor'. 2014.

Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal.

I am immensley grateful to Jeremy Houghton for choosing The Horse Trust as the benefactor charity of 'The Spirit of Windsor' Exhibition.

The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1 is an important year; it has highlighted the vital role and sacrifice horses have made both on and off the battlefield, and how the highest standards of animal welfare have been given by the compassion and professionalism of the the horse trust since 1886.

Nowadays modernity has eclipsed many of the duties that the horse fulfilled, however, the British love of equestrian past-times has ensured that owning a horse is still a popular way of life. Whilst the military and police still demand great discipline from their horses  it is now in the ceremonial and sporting arenas where in Britain they are mostly used. What has never changed  is the special relationship between human and horse; this care and respect could not be more evident than at the Horse Trust.

Jeremy has been a resident artist at Windsor for the past six months, where he has observed Castle life through the eyes of the horse. Positioning himself in and around the mews, which have for centuries been the heartbeat of the Castle,  Jeremy has witnessed and depicted life in all four courts and also further afield in the Windsor Great Park. His beautiful sketches and paintings have so cleverly captured what goes on behind the scenes at Windsor and I wish this exhibition every success.

 

Foreword by Jeremy Houghton, Artist in Residence for HM The Queen at Windsor Castle.

I am indebted to Her Majesty The Queen for granting this residency with her approval. Windsor Castle was the view from my bedroom for five years and whilst iconic from the outside, what lay within was always a source of great wonder. Twenty five years on, to be given the opportunity to step inside has been a real honour.

To paint an insight of such a big residence poses the question ‘Where to begin?’ I came to the conclusion that the heartbeat of the Castle has always been the mews. Still to this day the Royal horses’ roles interlink both public and private life, so a portrait of Windsor through the eyes of the horse gave me the necessary ‘blinkered’ focus as well as the outreach to venture into the Great Park, the home of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Guards polo at Smith’s Lawn, and The Procession to Royal Ascot. All these events help illustrate how the Castle remains at the epicentre of the British sporting, military and ceremonial calenders.

When at Windsor one cannot escape its proud history and heritage which was all the more poignant this year with the WW1 centenary commemorations. The Castle’s connections to the army are as important as ever; this summer when the King’s Troop stabled over 100 horses in the mews for The Royal Windsor Horse Show it was reminscent of a scene from 1914 where soldiers and horses readied themselves. The mutual loyalty, courage, skill and devotion which we now see on the playing fields are what make stories of the battlefield so moving. Today we are fortunate that just as Windsor Castle has barely changed over the years, neither has the spirit between man and horse.