a conference

The Horse and the Country House



The Horse and the Country House:

Art, Politics and Mobility


Institute of Continuing Education, Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge

18 – 19 November 2022


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.

UPDATE: In person tickets are now sold out, but the conference will be live-streamed thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Carriage Association of America.


If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for in-person tickets please email



DAY ONE: Friday 18 November

Registration from 9.00am

9.30 Welcome and Introduction 
Helen Jacobsen (Attingham Trust)
Elizabeth Jamieson (Attingham Trust) – The Horse and the Country House: an untold history

10.00-11.30 Session 1: The Domesticated Horse: Horse Welfare and Care of Servants
Chair: Christopher Garibaldi (University of Cambridge)

Jana Schuster (University of Cambridge) – Transport innovations, stables and animal welfare of the 2nd Duke of Montagu, 1709-49
Jessica Dallow (University of Alabama, Birmingham) – Architecting Horses and Buildings: stable design and culture at John Hartwell Cocke’s Bremo
Frances Bailey (National Trust) – Chariots and Gold Cups, Tails and Hooves, Hermit and Hambletonian: the lives of the Londonderry’s Horses
John Stallard (Carriage Association of America) – The Pride of the Country House Stable: carriages for sport

11.30-12.00 Coffee Break

12.00-1.30 Session 2: Evidence of the Horse: Architectural, Visual, and Textual
Chair: Michaela Giebelhausen (Courtauld Institute)

Julian Munby (Independent Scholar) – Horse and Carriage in Town and Country: sources and issues
Christopher Garibaldi (University of Cambridge) – Evidence of the architectural history of the Royal Palaces of Newmarket in paintings by Jan Siberechts and John Wootton
Adam Menuge (University of Cambridge) – Blickling’s early 17th century stables revisited
Aurore Bayle-Loudet (Hermès) – Hermès and Horses 1837-1914: a story of patrons and muses

1.30-2.30 Lunch Break

2.30-3.45 Session 3: Places for Horses: Old Buildings, New Life
Chair: Elizabeth Jamieson (Attingham Trust)

Alexandra Lotz (State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology, Saxony-Anhalt) – The Stables of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz – new life for historic buildings
Sally Goodsir (Royal Collection Trust) – Creating and Curating the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace
Allesandra Griffo (Uffizi Galleries) – The Carriage Museum in the Stables of the Pitti Palace
Paula Martin (Harewood House Trust) – The Horse at Harewood
Phillippa Turner (National Trust) – The National Trust Carriage Museum at Arlington Court, Devon
Thomas Reinhart (George Washington’s Mount Vernon) – The Mount Vernon Stables

3.45-4.15 Tea Break

4.15-5.15 Roundtable Panel Discussion

5.30-6.30 Drinks Reception


DAY TWO: Saturday 19 November

9.30 Coffee and registration for new delegates

10.00-11.30 Session 4: Horsepower: Politics, Social Mobility and Fashion
Chair: Oliver Cox (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Sophie Chessum (National Trust) – Horse Racing and the Onslows of Clandon Park : a case study in politics, business and the country
Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan University) – Clergy and Carriages: the place of the horse in the late Georgian parsonage
Emma Lyons (University College, Dublin) Racehorses, Gambling and Equestrian Buildings of Sir Edward O’Brien of Dromoland
Maria-Anne Privat (Château de Compiègne) – Anglomania and French horse-drawn carriages

11.30-11.45 Short Break

11.45-1.15 Session 5: Women and the Horse: Riders, Hunters and Carriage Drivers
Chair: Frances Bailey (National Trust)

Erica Munkwitz (American University) – Country Contentments: women, hunting and the English countryside
Helena Esser (Independent Scholar) – Horse-riding and gender in the Victorian popular imagination
Charlotte Newman (National Trust) – Equine Adventures and Constructions of Femininity at Lanhydrock House, Cornwall
Whitney White (Pebble Hill Plantation) – Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe – an extraordinary American equestrienne

1.15-2.15 Lunch Break

2.15-4.10 Session 6: The Commodification of the Horse: Visual Representation and Culture
Chair: Lydia Hamlett (University of Cambridge)

Sebastian Edwards (Historic Royal Palaces) – The Horse from Hanover – the role of the horse and equine sport in the court culture of Kings George I and II
Timothy Cox (British Sporting Art Trust) & Karen Hladik (Independent Scholar) – The Mysterious Case of Sir T.S. Bonnet and his Horse “Swallow”
Michaela Giebelhausen (Courtauld Institute of Art) – The Trouble with George Stubbs: more than just a horse painter
Alexandra Mayson (University of Oxford) – “Extraordinary Sagacity”: representations of Arab horses and Arabic horsemanship in four horseracing prizes from the 1830s
Sheila O’Connell (Independent Scholar) – Magnificent or Comic: Horses and Riders in Prints

4.10 Closing Remarks and Tea

End of Conference

Madingley Hall is a beautiful sixteenth-century country house and garden. Built by Sir John Hynde in 1543, and occupied as a residence by his descendants until the 1860s, the Hall is now owned by the University of Cambridge. It is close to the centre of town, with free parking available onsite. Specially discounted B&B rates are available if you would like to stay at Madingley Hall during the conference. To take advantage, please call reception on +44 (0)1223 746222 or email quoting “horse and the country house conference”.

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