Sunday, August 18, 2019

When Breyers Went to Press in the 1970s

A short post this time, sharing some newspaper advertisements for Breyer horses that I found at an online newspaper archive.  

How wonderful to remember just how popular plastic ponies were, and how retailers took out newspaper ads ahead of Christmastime, to promote them.

Richmond, Indiana Palladium-Item, 9 October 1977.

Santa Rosa (California) Press-Democrat, November 1979.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Horse Book Illustrator: Angie Draper

Some of the "Vintage Horse Art" folks on Facebook were talking about their favorite illustrations from Walter Farley's horse books, and this image came up.

The illustrations for several of Farley's books were drawn by Florida artist Angie Draper. She had been exhibiting her work for many years before she met Walter Farley.  A 1955 article about Draper's equine art in the Tampa Tribune newspaper was filed under the heading "She Has a Hobby."   It records Draper saying that she started drawing horses by sketching them in her school notebooks (something a lot of model horse collectors were also known to do!).

Over the next few years, Draper was recognized as more than a "hobby" artist.  This article, from 1956, seems to give her a bit more credibility as an artist, but starts off making observations about her appearance.  (Yes, this was common in the 1950s.)

By 1958, Draper was being taken seriously enough to have a "one man show" of her art.  That's a bit of a change from being classified first as a pretty housewife. 

Also in 1958, she helped create backdrops for a local charity event.

 A 1960 newspaper story showed one of her Thoroughbred portraits.

1961 found Draper working to finish the illustrations for Walter Farley's book Man O'War. The two had previously met at a horse show.

In 1964, Farley's book The Black Stallion Challenged came out, with illustrations by Draper.

Author and artist made public appearances; this one was in 1967.

The Black Stallion and the Girl came out in 1971.

Draper also gave demonstrations of her painting techniques for local civic organizations and groups of children.

This 1978 article featured Walter Farley...

...and below it, there was an article on Draper and her art. 

Another story about Draper's presentations for children about her equine art, came out in 1989.


Thank you, Angie Draper, not only for illustrating those iconic Walter Farley books, but also for taking the time to share your art, in person, with children.


There are several examples of model horses inspired by  The Black Stallion.

Fred Stone issued licensed figurines of The Black Stallion and The Black Stallion Returns, through Border Fine Arts.

Breyer issued "Walter Farley's The Black Stallion" by himself from 1981 to 1988.  This mold also came in sets, with a book and poster (1981-1983), and as a Black Stallion and Alec race set with book (JC Penney, 1982) and horse, doll, and tack (1982-1985).

Chris Hess' Breyer "Black Stallion Returns" set, in the Classic scale, was issued from 1983-1993. It featured the Black, Sagr, and Johar.

Rich Rudish's Breyer "Sham" mold was issued as "The Black Stallion" in 2002-2008 with a copy of the paperback book.

You can see examples of these models here:

An award-winning film based on "The Black Stallion" was released in 1979.


If you visit the Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries at the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, you can see their large "Black Stallion" exhibit.

I found other examples of Draper's equine art online:

She and her family owned and rode their own horses.


You can read about the Black Stallion Literacy Project here: