Philip Blacker British, b. 1949

Philip Blacker started his career as a steeplechase jockey before becoming a full-time artist. He specialises in bronze sculpture. While he is best known for his large-scale horses, such as his famous life-size portrait of Red Rum at Aintree, Blacker's work has become increasingly varied and now includes monumental human figures as well as other animal subjects. Blacker has worked with the Tryon gallery since  his first solo exhibition in 1983.

 

Philip got a chance in life to be a professional jockey at the start of the 1969/1970 season and continued it with enthusiasm for 13 years; and is remembered to have ridden 340 winners. Blacker has remained a Member of the Jockey Club and has shown his presence in various committees, including the British Horseracing Authorities Security and Investigations Committee.

 

It is remembered that In 1973 Philip finished fourth on Spanish Steps in the first Grand National won by Red Rum. In 1977 Philip finished as a seventh competitor on Happy Ranger to Red Rum, clinching his third and final Grand National. Philip writes that 1982 was "my one big chance to win the race." Nevertheless, He had taken a ride at Ludlow the day before the Grand National, where he haplessly fell and got his arm broken. While he was absent, Royal Mail at that time was ridden by another jockey, and the horse got stuck at Becher's Brook fence. In one of his interviews, Blacker said, "That horse needed a rider that knew him, and on that day he didn't," and described the contest as one of the biggest regrets of his career and life.

 

As a sculptor, he has produced some flabbergasting works in the UK and abroad, including racecourse bronzes that are yet to be produced and remembered for prolonged prominence. These were Best Mate at Cheltenham, Generous at Epsom, Persian Punch at Newmarket, Desert Orchid at Kempton Park, Makybe Diva at Flemington in Melbourne, and Northern Dancer at Woodbine in Canada and an 18-foot stallion in Saudi Arabia.

 

In January 2017, he produced a limited edition of 400 small bronze replicas of the Red Rum statue at Aintree, which appeared as a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Red Rum's third Grand National victory.