An equine sculptor, Frippy Jameson, has been given rare access to the Household Cavalry in order to sculpt five of their horses which will be exhibited at a London Gallery in June and July this year.
Frippy studied Fine Art Sculpture at Camberwell College of Art and Design, and City & Guilds of London Art School where she was awarded the Madame Tussaud Prize for Portraiture. She trained in stone-carving at The Portland Sculpture Trust, Tout Quarry and with traditional stone carvers of Mahabalipuram, Southern India.
She came to sculpture through her first tutor, ceramicist Richard Dzadiek, who shared his extensive knowledge of clay and casting. Her work communicates “the symbiosis relationship between fragility, strength and quiet.”
Frippy lives and works from her studio in the Scottish Borders. In her words:
“I work from life in direct and cast plaster, clay and bronze. I use horses and figures in my work to express the tensions between fragility, strength and the calm they create and reflect when together. My interest in the horse lies in the state when they have finished work, resting or waiting. I have generous neighbours who allow me to sit in a corner of their yard whilst I sculpt their horses and others who lend their horses so that I can have them in the studio when working on larger pieces.”
She explained her approach to the current project:
“I was invited to sculpt the horses of the Household Cavalry, travelling to London from Scotland to observe the 200 plus horses at their Knightsbridge barracks, recording a snapshot of their lives and work at this moment in time.
“My interest lies in the ‘between moments’ of these working horses, the silent times as they wait having been tacked up for duty or as they wait in line during inspection or are delivered back to their stalls. The underlying quietness of the horses in this highly organised, purpose driven place. The quiet relationships the soldiers have with the horses amongst the noise of their work.
“This search for a “quietness” is the thread that links all my work and it felt important to include sculptures of the military horses without their tack or rider amongst those in their military finery. Perhaps it is a reflection of the underlying, unseen quiet of the soldiers beyond a visual strength. The often unspoken noise of the mind beyond operational tours, military excellence and experiences.
“I hope my work might go some way to remind and engage the viewer of that which is held quietly within, that which is often hidden and goes unvoiced by brave men and women.
“I have chosen Oracle, Perseus, Javelin, Paaderberg and Outlaw from the hundreds of beautiful and impeccably turned out horses, an almost impossible task. The soldiers at the Household Cavalry went above and beyond to welcome me and help me photograph and measure the horses, it was fascinating to hear some of the stories behind the horses and also their own personal experiences as soldiers.
“The farriers in the barracks- forge have a constant stream of horses to shoe; they all follow a civilian- recognised farrier- training programme, allowing them to become exceptional, qualified farriers who go on to continue their careers as civilian farriers on leaving the army. I photographed so many people from the Officers, NCO and veterinarians and grooms caring for the horses to those on parade. The soldiers showed me many horses and each had a favourite or a background story for them.
“I usually work from life however living and working so far away this has not been possible and so I work from quick sculpture sketches taken from life at the Knightsbridge barracks, videos and images taken of the individual horses, measuring them precisely before returning to my studio to begin the sculptures. I come down to London to gather more visual information and to regain the feeling of the barracks and horses as it fades, I return with a clearer more informed vision each time.
“For this series of sculptures I have been working in traditional wet clay and also an oil based clay which has the perfect properties for the fine detail of military tack before taking the sculptures to be cast into bronze by the skilled foundry team at Powderhall Bronze Foundry in Edinburgh where they are then patinated in conjunction with sculptor and foundry- owner, Brian Caster.
Frippy’s grandparents both served in WW2.
“My grandfather was commissioned into The Gordon Highlanders before transferring to The Royal Artillery. Following his experiences in the Second World War serving in Burma and subsequently in Germany, he and my grandmother retreated back to Scotland where they bought a remote hill farm in Dumfries and Galloway.
Following my Grandfather’s death, my Grandmother moved to the Solway Firth. She had been a Wren in the Second World War and during the later part of her life she hosted days at her seaside home for injured Afghanistan and Iraq veterans in conjunction with South West Scotland RnR (a charity that provides Veterans with help and training, and specifically an HGV driver-training course; see below for more details. Ed).
My grandmother very rarely talked about her and my Grandfather’s experiences of war which had profoundly affected them both particularly my grandfather, yet she had an acute sense of the importance of army men and women gathering in understanding and unity, which she hoped to facilitate through inviting them to her home.”
Frippy shares her grandmother’s desire to help ex-service types. She is looking into how she might be able to work with a Service Charity to set up day-visits to her studios for Veterans. These could include hands-on experience of working in clay and an introduction to sculpting. Creating works of art can be a useful antidote to many forms of stress and the visits might be the start of someone’s career as an artist – as well as a marvellous day out.
The horse sculptures will be exhibited at the Osborne Studio Gallery in London from the 14th June to the 4th July. https://www.osg.uk.com/
(Later in the year, the same gallery will be exhibiting works by Freddy Paske, an ex-Army type, who has already had an exhibition of sketches and drawings of his time in Afghanistan. His work will be on show at the Osborne Studio gallery between 5th and 21st December.)
South West Scotland RnR
“SWS RnR is a charity which provides much needed and appreciated holidays in Dumfries and Galloway for injured soldiers who have seen active service. In addition, we run two training programmes to help get ex-servicemen through the theory test to enable them to start driver training for heavy goods vehicles. We also provide training to get the SIA qualification which is needed to be employed in the security industry.”