William Duke of Newcastle (1592-1676) on horseback

by Abraham van Diepenbeck

Abraham van Diepenbeck was a pupil of Sir Anthony Van Dyck. This drawing depicts William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle schooling his horse in a rearing movement known as a Courbette.

This drawing is associated with the first published book on formal horsemanship produced in Britain, and Europe. Diepenbeck produced illustrations for the Duke's great book "La Methode Nouvelle pour dresser les Chevaux", which the Duke compiled whilst in exile in Antwerp during the Cromwellian Protectorate. Surviving drawings by Diepenbeck are now extremely rare.

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle was a pioneer of formal horsemanship and the manege he built at Bolsover Castle (still surviving) is the first riding school of modern design to be established in this country.

Known as the "Loyal Duke" Newcastle fought for King Charles I in the Civil War until the defeat at Marston Moor when he retired to Antwerp.

This drawing is extremely rare, not only being a preparatory drawing for the Duke's equestrian book project illustrating the Duke performing one of the paces he was promoting. Accomplished and freely drawn sketches by a Van Dyck pupil of this period have rarely survived.

William Duke of Newcastle (1592-1676) on horseback

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17th Century

Pen and Ink and wash on paper

6 8/10 x 5 x 7/10 inches (174 x 144 mm)

Private Collection, UK