Anne Bullen was one of the finest illustrators of the 20th century, legendary figure in the equestrian world, supreme in the much loved genre of ‘pony books.’
Her work expresses the spirit of an ideal childhood, sunshine and freedom, riding ponies in the countryside. December exhibition of seventy re-discovered works will be a nostalgia trip for many.
Anne Bullen’s eldest daughter Jennie Loriston-Clarke, dressage and eventing star, competed in seven Olympic Games, the first winner of the Queen’s Award for Equestrianism. She discovered a cache of sketchbooks, canvases, rolls of drawings, in a forgotten bureau drawer. This exhibition will be the last chance for collectors to acquire her mother’s original work.,
Anne Bullen studied classical principles at the Academie Julien in Paris, and Chelsea School of Art. She married Lt.Colonel Jack Bullen, and in 1949, they founded the Catherston Stud in Dorset, to breed, train and sell‘ ‘top class children’s ponies’ ( her daughter Jane Holderness Roddam’s description). They presented an immaculately trained pony, Juniper, to HM Queen Elizabeth, for HRH Prince Charles, in 1954.
Anne and Jack’s family of six children, three boys, then three girls, were all brilliant high achieving riders, winners of innumerable international awards. The tradition continues in the second and third generations, with the Catherston Stud directed by Anne Bullen’s granddaughter Anne Dicker, continuing to flourish in Hampshire, England , as ‘the Home of Champions’. Her daughter Charlotte is competing as a young rider in European championships.
Jane Holderness Roddam (nee Bullen) – member of GB Gold Medal winning team Mexico 1968 writes: ‘Most of her pictures were done with a pencil: HB and HB2 were favourites. Some were done with charcoal, crayon, ink, even biro, as well as watercolour or a mixture of any of the above.’ ‘She simply saw something she liked and drew it from memory.’
Anne Bullen understood equestrian anatomy as well as any of the Old Masters (George Stubbs, Leonardo Da Vinci) she revered. She gave lectures about the evolution of The Horse to institutions and colleges, using her own anatomical drawings (see below). She showed how correct training can develop the muscles of the neck and back to carry the weight of a rider more easily.