Florence Mabel Hollams was a popular British painter of horses and dogs. She studied under the artist Frank Calderdon and, at a time when most schools did not accept female students, she studied in Paris at the Académie Julian.
She is described by Stella Walker, in 'British Sporting Art in the Twentieth Century' London 1989, as 'always a lightning artist, after looking at a horse for only five minutes and making a few sketches on pieces of wood in her paint box, the first picture would be completed by the end of another week'. Her chauffeur would apparently have been commissioned to collect samples of the horses manes and coats. Walker comments that Hollams 'had to compete with such outstanding exponents as Munnings and Lionel Edwards', but their respective styles were so different the comparison is hardly relevant.
Hollams filled a need for lifelike reminders of treasured horses and dogs for customers who probably had little interest in art. The results have an almost iconic appeal, and represent a way of life that changed for ever after the first and second world wars, when the country piles, with stables full of horses, which she visited in her large car, started to decay and be sold off when their incumbents could no longer afford their upkeep.
One of Hollams' paintings, The Royal Horse, is displayed at the Mount Branch Museum in Invar Court. Hollams is also recognised as one of the first female royal scholars who exhibited eight paintings and was elected to the Society of Women Artists in 1899. She wedded Charles Lionel Fox, a land agent who worked for the owners of the Shazle racehorses.