Monday, December 10, 2018

Model Horse History's Computer Connection: Ada Lovelace

December 10 is the anniversary of the birth of Englishwoman Ada King, better known as Ada Lovelace. Most people who honor Ada Lovelace remember her as a forerunner in modern computer science.

Ada Lovelace
But when I think about Ada Lovelace, I remember the Hagen-Renaker "Ferseyn" Arabian stallion, designed by Maureen Love.
Hagen-Renaker "Ferseyn," next to a photo of the real stallion.
Yes, there is a connection between this "first lady of modern computing" as she has been called, and one of my favorite model horse designs.

Ada King, an Englishwoman born in 1815, is widely acknowledged as being responsible for helping to develop the earliest prototype of a computer. She was the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, the renowned poet.

You can read more about Ada's life here:

When Ada's husband William was made Earl of Lovelace, she became Countess Lovelace. William and Ada had a daughter named Anne.

Lady Anne Blunt
Anne married a writer named Wilfrid Blunt. You can read more about them here:

Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt traveled in the Middle East in the late 1870s-1880s and brought Arabian horses back to England, establishing the Crabbet Stud.

Lady Wentworth and Skowronek
Their daughter Judith, also known as Lady Wentworth, sold a number of the descendants of her parents' Arabians to breeders all over the world, including one W.K. Kellogg. The American cereal magnate had established his own Arabian horse ranch in Pomona, California.

Mares and foals at the Kellogg Ranch
Two of the horses Kellogg bought from Lady Wentworth were the gray stallion *Raseyn (gr. 1923, Skowronek x Rayya) and the bay mare *Ferda (b. 1913, Rustem x Feluka).

*Raseyn with artist Gladys Brown
(later Gladys Brown Edwards), holding her portrait of him

And *Raseyn and *Ferda were the parents of Ferseyn.

The real Ferseyn (photo courtesy Western Livestock Journal)

In the mid-1950s, Maureen Love, working as a designer for the California pottery Hagen-Renaker, sketched Ferseyn and created the mold that became the ceramic Arabian stallion that so resembles the real horse. Maureen was introduced to Ferseyn through Gladys Brown Edwards, the artist and author whose name is most often associated with the Kellogg Ranch and the Kellogg Arabians. Gladys worked at the Kellogg Ranch as a secretary for many years. Her correspondence shows that she not only designed dogs for Hagen-Renaker, but that she also introduced Maureen Love to the Arabians owned by former Kellogg Ranch manager Herbert H. Reese, including Ferseyn and another Kellogg stallion, Abu Farwa.

"Ferseyn" was first issued by Hagen-Renaker in 1958.

In 1971, Breyer leased the mold and produced the Classic Arab Stallion.
Breyer Classic Arabian Stallion, chestnut

Breyer CAS in gray, next to the slightly larger Hagen-Renaker "Ferseyn"

The real stallion Ferseyn was also the inspiration for at least two other Hagen-Renaker molds: the "Abdullah" Arabian stallion, first issued in 1956...

Large (1956) and small (1968) "Abdullah" Arabians, courtesy Hagen-Renaker Online Museum
And the "Bedouin" Arabian horse with rider, first issued Fall 1956.

Courtesy Hagen-Renaker Online Museum

Gladys Brown Edwards' letter about Hagen-Renaker and Maureen Love is part of the collection at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library. W.K. Kellogg and GBE's correspondence with Lady Wentworth are on file there as well.

You can find out more about the Crabbet Arabians and their legacy here:

1 comment:

  1. The mother of Lady Anne Blunt --- !!! Quietly flabbergasted. I did not know. Love those oldie photos, esp. the Skowronek (had not seen) and Ferseyn. Thanks for all this connectivity.