Horse Fairs

“Lavenham Horse Fair. What a sight! This famous fair of heavy draught-horses eclipsed anything of its kind I had ever seen.
…We went from inn-yard to inn-yard, where straw lay strewn on the ground, and those well-fed, clean-shaven, purple-faced men already were seeing horses trotted up and down the yards, in the main street, in the lesser streets, on a green and up near the great church with its tall tower.
I see the powerful quarters of those great cart-horses standing in rows in market-place and yard, their manes and tails plaited with straw and braided with blue, yellow and scarlet ribbons. Their action when trotted out was as vigorous as that of the hackney. Their necks were “clothed in thunder”, their hooves sounded in the street while a man running behind bustled them with the end of a long, brass-bound whip.
A Suffolk Horse Fair, Lavenham. 1901.

..”A Country Horse Fair.” Bright sun, tents, crowds, and a black horse hustled by one man and held by another. For this [my model] Gray Junior dressed himself in one of those dealer’s suits which were made for me to my measurements at a particular kind of tailor’s in Norwich. A varnished type, those masterful horse-dealers. They roused a horse, shaking a stiff, pink, cambric flag in its face, the horse on a long halter to give it a play. A fellow in velvet and checks shouted, “Lord Wellington didn’t ride one like ‘im in the battle of Waterloo! Every time he sets ‘is foot ‘e strikes a milestone!”.”

Alfred Munnings, An Artist’s Life, 1950.

Country Horse Fair, 1902.
Kilkenny Horse Fair, c1925. Munnings RA diploma work, 1925.
The Horse Fair, 1906.
The Horse Fair, 1901.
Kilkenny Horse Fair, c1925.