Local artist's Drinking Horse sculpture gets its own winner's enclosure at Newbury Racecourse
Newbury racecourse marked the opening of its Flat racing season by installing a remarkable sculpture at the heart of the parade rings - Tom Hiscocks' massive yet finely realised depiction of a drinking horse.
An award-winning sculptor, Tom Hiscocks has a studio in Pewsey and lives nearby. With Drinking Horse, Hiscocks has returned to a subject close to his heart. This work was so large and heavy that he had to make it at a workshop in Somerset.
Over two metres tall and weighing four tons, Drinking Horse will stay on the Owners & Trainers Lawn throughout the 2018 Flat season. It is made from copper and mirror-polished stainless steel and set on Portland stone plinth. It is one of an edition of eight. On the opening day of Newbury's Flat season it was glinting in the sun - but its appearance will alter over time as the copper weathers.
Tom Hiscocks came to art and sculpture late - after a career switch. He is a graduate of the Cambridge Art School with a first-class honours degree in Fine Art. Hiscocks has made a considerable impact with his dynamic sculptures and his work appears in private and public collections across the UK, Europe and the USA.
However, Hiscocks is certainly no stranger to Newbury Racecourse having previously worked as a groom in nearby Lambourn with Nick Gaselee and Henry Candy.
He then moved abroad and spent time working in stables in Australia, Ireland and in America, where he worked for John Gosden at Santa Anita.
“Newbury was one of the first racecourses I ever took a horse to, which makes the opportunity to have one of my latest sculptures here serendipitous.” Hiscocks has another connection with Newbury Racecourse: for the past two years he has managed the jockeys’ canteen at Newbury, providing refreshments for the weighing room.
“When I began at art school I was encouraged to move away from horses and a lot of my early work was more about human forms and figures, but about a year or so ago I decided it was time to look at them again – I just know horses really well, I love the way they move, the way they look and think."
In his work he has carried out a lot of work inspired by the human body - especially the way an MRI scan can produce cross sections of the changing tissue and bone.
“In my work, I’m particularly interested in the way humans interact with each other and the image we give off. We can be different people depending upon how we feel, what’s happening and even the time of day and I’ve tried to reflect that in this work."
“I wanted it to be a piece that you can return to and look at from a different angle and see something different each time and hopefully I have achieved that.”
Hiscocks’ racing experience also extends to riding in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival - some years ago: “Racing has always been a part of my life, I’ve always enjoyed being on the racecourse and I’m delighted Newbury have supported my work.”
Drinking Horse is not a permanent fixture - perhaps the Racecourse should buy it so it can become a permanent presence among the horses that inspired it.
For more information on Tom Hiscocks, visit tomhiscocks.co.uk and follow @tomhiscocks on Instagram.