Yay! The British Museum are going to have live horses in the forecourt this Saturday to celebrate their The Horse from Ancient Arabia to Royal Ascot exhibit. I felt pretty iffy about the exhibit for various reasons (detailed here – it’s a wee bit incoherent, inaccurate and slanted), but the Horse Power day sounds like great fun. According to the British Museum’s blog,
A source of inspiration for the day was the wonderful painting, The Derby Day (1856-58), by William Powell Frith, on display in the exhibition. This painting captures the crowds at a nineteenth-century race day. It demonstrates the vibrant culture that sprang out of race days (not that many of the crowd in the painting are watching the race) and that’s something we’ve considered with the activities on Horse power day. Visitors will be able to make fascinators, a tribute to the popular focus on fashions on display at Ladies’ days at the races, and listen to popular music from the eighteenth and nineteenth century recreating the atmosphere of the first great Thoroughbred races at courses like Ascot and Epsom – including a song specially recreated for the event, not heard in its original version for 250 years, but which survives as a folk song even now!
There will be morris dancers, police horses, Arabians, heavy horses, donkeys, storytelling, talks from jockey Caroline Baldock and experts on horse mythology and archaeology, plus chances to make everything from rosettes to fascinators and sculptures.
They’re also asking people to tweet along:
And I’m chuffed to see there’s been an If Wishes Were Horses-themed contender for #horsefilm: