Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Part-Arabian Foal by Gladys Brown Edwards

When I go to estate sales, I usually look for small ceramic animals I can add to my collection.  At a sale I attended last month, I spotted a number of little ceramic animals -- and a metal one, dusty and showing its years a bit, but still charming.  

I recognized this as a Dodge, Inc. lying foal designed by Gladys Brown Edwards (1908-1989).  If you love horses, and you aren't already familiar with Gladys Brown Edwards, you should become acquainted with her work.  She was a brilliant equine sculptor, artist and writer, long associated with the W.H. Kellogg Arabian Ranch in California.  Her designs were used to many years as trophies by the Arabian Horse Association and others.  Most of her sculptures were produced by the Dodge foundry in Los Angeles, from the 1930s onward. 

Gladys Brown Edwards is one of the gold standards in 20th century American equine art.  She is known not only for her work with Dodge, Inc., but also for her paintings and illustrations of Arabians and other horse breeds (as well as dogs) in books and magazines.  

I found a 1968 magazine, The Thoroughbred of California, at another estate sale that featured an article GBE wrote and illustrated, on horse anatomy and conformation.  Here are some of the pages that feature her illustrations.

Gladys Brown Edwards certainly knew about horse breeds.  So what breed does the little foal figurine I found represent? I assumed it was an Arabian. But Carolyn Martin's book, Gladys Brown Edwards' Equine Works in Metal, says that little foal, produced in 1947, was modeled after the offspring of GBE's first horse, a part-bred mare named Tequila, and the Kellogg Ranch Arabian stallion Hanad.  Dodge, Inc., also produced bookends showing both the mare and the foal.  Liz Bouras has a picture of the bookends on her Pinterest page.

And here's a picture of the real Hanad, from the Kellogg Ranch Library website:

Sidebar, about Hanad:  He was one of the most famous Arabian horses of his day.  A website describes Hanad's career at the Kellogg Ranch in California: 

Hanad was the star of the Kellogg Sunday programs, where he performed as a five gaited horse, did the Spanish walk and other tricks such as jumping rope. He was a born show horse and exceptional sire... His descendants inherited his marvelous disposition and attitude, and excellent conformation..... Twenty of his 52 foals were born during his last three years of life.

So the foal statue I found (like so many of the good horses) represents not a purebred but a part-bred horse.  And even though he's not ceramic or plastic like most of my collection, he fits in rather well with the other lying foals.


Here are some resources on Gladys Brown Edwards and her work.

Cal State University Pomona holds the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library's Gladys Brown Edwards collection:

Liz Bouras has a Pinterest page dedicated to the art of Gladys Brown Edwards:

A great resource for the metal horse collector is Carolyn Martin's Gladys Brown Edwards' Equine Works in Metal.  (If you're shopping or selling, keep in mind that the values for the pieces shown in any book on collectibles should be compared with recent selling prices for the same piece.) You can preview the book here:

An article in Morgan Horse Magazine describes the depth of GBE's knowledge of the way horses moved:


  1. At BF this year, the Arabian Assoc was giving out a wee packet about the breed.
    I tried to paste a pic of the give-away, but ..Teresa can I email you the pic to share? Yes, it's a GEB Arabian! So classic they are still using it today!

    1. Thanks, Heather! That's good news. Was it this image?

  2. GBE is one of my idols. She was so prolific -- while she was writing for the Thoroughbred of California, she was also contributing to the Arab Horse Journal and Arabian Horse World, and writing books, and doing who knows what else!

    1. Has anyone ever written her biography?