Collection Online
oil on canvas
152.9 × 306.5 cm
inscribed in brown paint l.r.: L Kemp-Welch (Welch underlined) 1900 (first 0 underlined)
inscribed in black paint on reverse u.c.: L Kemp Welch / Kingsley / Bushey
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1900
© Estate of Lucy Kemp-Welch
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
About this work

Horses bathing in the sea, a monumental canvas depicting army horses at exercise in the surf off Dorset, was Lucy Kemp-Welch’s hugely successful contribution to the annual summer exhibition at London’s Royal Academy in 1900. The painting was executed directly before the motif, on the sandbanks at Parkstone – being protected at night, and from surf and storm, by the large weatherproof case with which Kemp-Welch loved to travel when working out of doors. The artist enjoyed huge popularity at the time this work was executed.

Subjects (general)
Animals Human Figures Marines and Seascapes
Subjects (specific)
beaches equestrians horse (species) seas United Kingdom (nation) waves (natural events)
Exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1900, no. 427; purchased from the artist, on the advice of the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest, for the NGV, 1900.

Exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1900, no. 427; The First Fifty Years: 19th Century British Art from the Gallery Archives, NGV, Melbourne, 1992, no. 23; Hidden Treasures, David Jones’ Gallery, Sydney, 1992.

Original, by Dolman, London


The frame is a well crafted example of a very large-scale gilded oak frame. The profile is classical in form but the surface treatment is characteristic of the finishes associated with Watts, Maddox-Brown, Rossetti and others. Gilding direct to oak was celebrated by Charles Lock Eastlake in the mid nineteenth century.1 The maker is identified from an entry in the artist’s diary, 21 March 1900: frame came from Dolman 2/8 (£2.8s), got it set up.2 The frame is a type preferred by Sir Hubert von Herkomer.3 A different profile with the same finish can be seen on Herkomer’s portrait of Queen Victoria (397.2-1), also in the NGV collection.


1 Eastlake provided advice to the National Gallery of Victoria in its formative years. Other well crafted frames with gilding direct to the oak are on Frank Dicksee’s The crisis, 1891 (p.396.2-1) and William Rothenstein, Aliens at prayer, 1905 (261-2).

2 Cited in: Linda Waters’ ‘A Close examination of Horses Bathing in the Sea’, Art Bulletin of Victoria, vol. 39, footnote 5, 1998.

3 For notes on Herkomer’s frames and, in particular, a frame very similar in profile to this one, see Jacob Simon, The Art of the Picture Frame, National Portrait Gallery of Victoria, London, 1996, pp. 106, 108.


The frame is made from an assemblage of solid oak sections, which have been machined to form the base profile. The slip is made from soft wood. The corners are mitred and joined with screws to facilitate being taken apart. Additional re-enforcement with blocks on the reverse has secured the corners. The surface of the greater part of the profile is gold leaf gilded directly to the oak, allowing the grain to show through. The outer section and working edge are water gilded on a white ground. The slip carries burnished water gilding on a red bole.


The frame is largely original throughout. The surface is worn and probably shows a more enhanced sense of wood grain structure than was originally intended. The inner edge, which supports the slip has, in the past, cracked from the pressure of being forced forward.

191.5 x 347.0 x 14.0 cm; sight 151.0 x 305.0 cm
More Information
National Portrait Gallery


Location of stamp
Twice on reverse of canvas, in bottom left and top right quadrants.
Ink stencils
More Information
National Portrait Gallery