Seraskier, the Riding Stallion of the Elector William II of Hesse, with Head Groom, Withard, and a Groom in Turkish Costume

Oil on canvas
Signed with Monogram: "AW" and Dated 1843
17 5/16 x 22 15/16 inches, 44 x 58.3 cm
Essay: 

Seraskier, a piebald stallion, was bred in 1826 in the Beberbeck stud from two Arab horses in the possession of Elector Wilhelm II of Hesse. The gentleman kneeling before the stallion has been identified as head groom, Withard. The Turkish gentleman is believed to have been the groom responsible for Seraskier in particular.

Seraskier was renowned for its oustanding intelligence, endurance and speed and hailed as the best and noblest horse in Hesse. He served as the Elector’s riding stallion until the summer of 1843 when this scene was painted. The animal, possessed of a “hefty temperament”, refused to let any but the most accomplished riders stay in the saddle, a fault which eventually caused it to be 'decommissioned' from the royal stud and sold to Captain von Eschstruth zu Kassel. The stead was since sold to G. Windemuth, Chief Police Commissioner ("his 112th, and last, horse") and several others after him, all of whom found the stead too difficult to manage. Seraskier died of colic in the summer of 1849.

Wenderoth painted the picture for his own use and requested that the stallion be brought to the Bellevue stud on 8-10 occasions for the purpose. Upon completion the painting was exhibited at the Hessische Kunstverein, whose committee bought it for 35 Louis d'Or . Subsequently auctioned, the work was bought by Court Buildings Inspector Gottlob Engelhard who, in turn, sold it to G. Windemuth, the stallion's former owner.

Provenance: 

Private Collection, Switzerland