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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sepia Saturday - Remembered on Horseback

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.

I could not match anything from my family history collection,  so have turned instead to  look at holiday photographs and Equestrian Statues, with the theme emerging of military men - and one women.   

Horse Statue, Hawick, unveiled in 1914.
Photograph by Lesley Fraser

I  live  in the Scottish Borders, a region often called "Scotland's Horse Country,  where riding is in the blood.   In the summer,  towns celebrate their history  with the annual common ridings.   In Hawick where I lived until recently,  it is both a symbolic riding of the town's boundaries, made in the past to safeguard burgh rights and also a commemoration of the callants, young lads of Hawick, who in 1514, raided a body of English troops at Hornshole by the river Teviot   and captured their flag - the "banner blue".   Hawick is gearing up to the 500th anniversary of this event  next year.
Above  is the Horse Monument unveiled in 1914, just before the outbreak of war.  Situated at the end of the High Street,  it is a popular meeting place and it can be confusing to newcomers to hear "I'll meet you at the Horse" - and left wondering is it a pub?   No - it is a potent symbol of the town's  heritage.
From a small Borders town to the  USA and statues of two  Presidents.  
George Washington Statue in the Public Gardens in Boston
George Washington (1722-1799) was the first President of the United States (1789-1797), commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American War of Independence, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the Convention that drafted the United States Constitution and was unanimously elected as President, serving two terms in office.
This statue was the first equestrian statue in Boston, unviled in 1869.  It  rises 38 feet in total.
 Statue of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) in Washington DC
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877) following his highly successful role as a Union general in the second half of the Civil War. 
His statue, dedicated in 1922 on the 100th anniversary of his birth, sits  below the west front of the US Capitol and  faces towards the Lincoln Memorial which honours Grant's wartime president.   

To Europe and more military men - and one woman.

Statue in London  of Richard I of England (1157-1199)  

Richard I,  son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, was known as Richard Cœur de Lion, or Richard the Lionheart, even before his accession, because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior.   Richard was  Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not reconquer Jerusalem. Returning overland he was captured and held prisoner until a large ransom was raised.  During his 10-year reign he spent only six months in England.

His statue,  unveiled in 1856,  stands outside the House of Parliament in Old Palace Yard.

Statue in Paris of Joan of Arc - Maid of Orleans  c.1412-1431  

Joan of Arc was born a peasant girl, but became a folk heroine of France and a saint. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years.   She was captured, put on trial] and was burned at the stake for heresy when she was  only 19 years old.

Her gilded bronze statue in Paris  was commissioned by the French government following the defeat of the country in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. 

 Statue in Vienna of Archduke Charles of Austria, Duke of Teschen (1771-1847)
Archduke Charles of Austria, the  third son of Emperor Leopald I,  achieved respect both as a commander and as a reformer of the Austrian army. He was considered one of Napoleon's most formidable opponents and defeated the French Emporer in 1809 at the Battle of Aspern.
This imposing equestrian statue was erected in 1860 in the Heidenplatz  (Heroes Square) in Imperial Vienna. 

Statue of Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904)
in Whitehall, London, opposite the War Office.
Prince George William, Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge,  was the grandson of King George III and cousin to Queen Victoria.  An army officer and Commander in Chief of the British Army, he served in the Crimean War.
His title, Duke of Cambridge, fell into extinction upon his death. It was not revived until 107 years later when  the Queen awarded the dukedom to Prince William on the occasion of his marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011.  
And back to real people on horseback - my daughter and granddaughter keeping the Borders riding tradition alive.

Trot over to this week's Sepia Saturday page HERE to see other horsy stories.

  Photograph of Horse Statue, Hawick by Lesley Fraser

All other photographs -
Copyright © 2013 · Susan and Neil  Donaldson. 
 All Rights Reserved



  1. Thank you for the statue tour, very educational. I didn't know about the connection with horses/riding in the Borders either.

  2. Is it true that the position of the horse's feet has some meaning? One foot up means death in battle; etc.? I've seen the Boston one many times -- it's pretty impressive.

  3. This was so interesting, I really like statues, and your last photo is just precious!

  4. Great collection, statues and history. I enjoyed the tour.

  5. I miss the horse days. It is just hard to get excited about a statue of an automobile. Enjoyed the post greatly.

  6. Ooh I do like a good statue and you've given us so many. Thank you. I like the Duke of Teschen best but I also like the Ulysses Grant one because it is so real. Was Joan of Arc really only 19 ? Gosh - poor thing. And I missed that bit about the Duke of Cambridge so thanks for bringing me up to speed...sometimes I think I live under a rock.

  7. Here is a nice one from Derby for your collection. A dashing Scotsman who once dared to visit Derby, but quickly turned round:


  8. Here's another statue for your collection - actually, I'm a little surprised that Simpson and his donkey didn't make it into one of the Antipodean posts this week. Perhaps because the whole myth has been debunked as a complete fabrication.

  9. An interesting collection of statues. I also like the final photo.

  10. An eclectic mixture of statues, some of which I recognise - not the one at Hawick though. A number of places in the North of England still maintain the tradition of riding the bounds.

  11. My favorite is the statue of Archduke Charles of Austria. It's a real action-packed tribute.

  12. There sure are a lot of equestrian statues throughout the world.

  13. What a lot of research you did for this week's post - a good read!

  14. I like the Joan of Arc best of the statues but the one of your daughter and granddaughter best of all. Made me smile.


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