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Michael Binkley Stone Sculpture of a War Horse

Michael Binkley War Horse Sculpture

“On Burnish’d Hooves His Warhorse Trode,” 2011

I have long had a fascination with Medieval lore and have enjoyed reading stories and listening to music based on Arthurian legends. The books by Canadian author Jack Whyte about King Arthur and the music of Canadian musician Loreena McKennitt are among these.

Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote “The Lady of Shalott” and Loreena McKennitt put the poem to music. The title of this sculpture is a line from that poem that describes Sir Lancelot’s mount as he rides past the Tower of Shallot.

I wanted to carve a horse from some Belgian marble that I had and polish it to a high sheen. The inspiration to put the subject and the highly polished deep black stone together was “burnish’d hooves.” The black Percheron was used as a war horse as it was large and strong enough to carry hundreds of pounds of knight, armour and weaponry into battle and was able to stay calm and under control in the chaos. I imagined my sculpture subject to be weary from the fight and trudging slowly out to pasture for a well earned rest, its head drooping with its long mane hanging down. Even in this reposed state, this size horse would make the ground vibrate as it plodded along.

As with “White Horse Wave”, I have left a substantial amount of raw stone between the legs of this horse. Stone legs cannot support weight the same way as flesh and bone ones, so sculptors through the ages have used various methods to support figurative stone sculptures such as placing a tree stump behind a leg. In this sculpture, I’ve used a fine toothed rake chisel to leave a texture on the stone between the legs and to differentiate the area from the highly polished sculpted body of the horse. This part of the sculpture, combined with the defined musculature of the horse’s body combine to give this small scale sculpture a feeling of mass and reserved power.

Comments: 2

  • Barb Binkley

    March 6, 2012
    reply

    Mike, you really are amazing- I think you need to write in your next life.

  • Michael Binkley

    March 16, 2012
    reply

    Thanks, Barb – you are too kind. I’ll take it under advisement!

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