Lionel Edwards was one of the most competent and exciting equestrian artists of the early twentieth century. With an obvious talent from an early age, Edwards attended Calderon’s School of Animal Painting in London in the 1890’s and became the youngest member of the London Sketch Club providing work for Country Life. The Graphic and The Sphere from his small studio in Kensington. When WWI began Edwards enlisted in the Army Remount Service as a purchasing officer alongside Cecil Aldin and Sir Alfred Munnings. During the War the ARS handled well over half million horses with a budget of over £50 million for their purchase.
After the war Edwards went on to write and illustrate more than thirty works including his famous My Hunting Sketch Book and The Sportsman’s Bag. He also provided illustrations for other works including Rudyard Kipling’s The Maltese Cat (1936) and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1946) but it was his depiction of equestrian sports particularly hunting for which he gained renown. Edwards was a keen huntsman, hunting with almost every pack in England and Ireland, and could often be seen painting from his horse or a bicycle.
The masterly depiction of the horse in movement together with sensitive impressionistic landscapes made Edwards one of Britain’s most celebrated sporting artists and he is often described as ‘the grand old man of British sporting art’. Although Edwards continued working until the 1960’s, it is for these evocative interwar works for which he is most recognised today.