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Meleager

Continuing the classical and completely pointless theme of matching little-known art to unheard of racehorses; Meleager was some mythological Greek geezer who killed the Calydonian Boar. This wicked boar had been sent by the goddess Artemis as a punishment and was busy terrorising the mythical neighbourhood by rooting up the vines, killing cattle and people. The rest of the story is long and complicated as these Greek things tend to be. I can say that because I have a Greek antecedent – ok?

This version of Meleager is a painted lead garden statue from the 1700s and can be seen in the V&A (British Sculpture Hall). Obviously I liked it because of the Rudi-like dog.

It turns out that there have been about four beasts (or brutes if you were Clement Freud) of the equine persuasion called Meleager, the earliest recorded being the 1753 version. The one I have selected to big up is the Meleager of 1908, by Eager out of Mesange, who was herself by Persimmon which neatly fits the Greek theme. There’s a lot of thought goes into giving these horses their bloody awful names you know. Anyway to wrap the ramble up (can you tell it’s nearly the end of term?), Meleager turned out to be a leading sire of jump racehorses in the early 1900s, but despite comprehensive research I cannot tell you one single recently prominent NH horse that has him in his pedigree.

I took photos of four subjects at the V&A and did not have it in mind to connect any of them with horses. Now I have started this mad enterprise I will have to try with the others. I know, you can hardly wait.