Tuesday, October 9, 2012

George Ford Morris

Vivian Gooch and Madame X .  Vivian Gooch was an Englishman
who judged the National Horse Show at the Garden in 1918

One of my favorite pastimes as a child was pouring over horse books.  One of my favorites was “Portraitures of Horses” which was a large, leather bound volume containing the bulk of the life’s work of renowned equine artist George Ford Morris.  GFM was born in 1873 and died in 1960.  He discovered his passion for art as a child and his life’s work spans the golden age of the horse in America.  He made portraits of all the famous horses and personalities of the day. Although he himself owned American Saddlebreds, his work includes American Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Morgans Arabians, draft stallions and hitches, coaching breeds, personal hunters and pets and prize winning cattle.  The human subjects, the owners and riders, are among the elite and wealthy families of the day.   Some of my favorites are featured on horse show posters and magazine covers.  I believe this is the origin of my love for illustration art, particularly that of the 1920s.

Art for a Horse Show Poster The National 1910

Because this is a side saddle blog…  and because this entry is prompted by the new item offered by my favorite gift shop at the American Saddlebred Museum,

Lampshade featuring Mary Fisher and Royal Irish

 I have rounded up a collection of his work featuring ladies aside.  In fact, this image,cooincidenatlyl, is the same one I featured on a recent Blog entry when one of Mary Fisher’s side saddles came up for sale on Ebay.  

Miss Bull on Lady Bonnie

I have clipped many quality George Ford Morris images from the web over the years.  Some of these, I am privileged enough to own in some hard copy format such as prints, horse show posters, playing cards, magazines or magazine over runs and vintage calendars.  My friend who owns Saddlebred Memories makes a few prints of pieces she owns originals of and whenever she makes these available, I snap them up immediately.  The American Saddlebred Museum has recently opened an expansion to hold a gallery of his work, which is on my short list of “places to visit as soon as possible”.

Here is a brief George Ford Morris biography I found on the web Link

"Circus Girl"

There are a couple of collectors who own good portions of his estate.  As you can see here Link, he was also an amazing sculptor, although I am aware of only a few pieces.  One Ebay seller often offers items for sale on Ebay with correct provenance from the Estate, and I am happy to bid on them whenever they come up.

Mrs. Francis Garvan on her hunter Alert.

Original oil paintings come up at auction regularly and can be had for anywhere from $5,000 to upwards if $20,000... maybe some day.

This little print of "Fantasy"and Mrs. Charles Hubbs graces a chest of drawers in my home.

This one of Princess Sonia almost appears to be a companion piece.

One of my favorites, above, was comissioned for a riding school calendar.

And this one for an Armour catalog.

Laramees Harness

His advertising pieces are the most rare.

And even a simple pencil study can be valued at several hundred dollars. 
My passion for George Ford Morris Art is greater than my passion for side saddle.  Or, perhaps, they are one and the same.


  1. I love his work and collect it when I can afford it too. The collection at the KY horse park in the saddlebred museum is a must see, I love to look at them when I visit. I had never see the 2nd to last print but I love it and need a copy for my self.

    1. The wonderful thing about the museum is that they make his images available on items you can use and enjoy every day. Perhaps my all time favorite of his work is the Stallions at Winganeek. I own that on the 1935 Great Horses of the Year magazine over run. When I go to the museum, I just stand in front of the original and stare forever.