Before the Start, The Cheltenham Gold Cup

Oil on board
49 x 53 cm

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Keith Money was born in New Zealand in 1935, a child of English parents. The major part of his working life has been spent in Britain, although he has travelled extensively in the course of his career, which is that of a tri-part polymath who has had marked success in three totally different disciplines: painting, writing, and photography.

Money received a Diploma in Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, before setting off for his family’s home base, the UK. His paintings were first exhibited in London’s West End at the Leicester Galleries, hanging amongst stellar company, in mixed shows. While still in New Zealand, Money had contributed some bloodstock articles to The British Racehorse magazine and he later contributed articles and illustrations to several equestrian publications, including Stud & Stableand The Field. He also worked for The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, and Tatler magazine, as artist and writer, and also as a photo essayist.

In 1961, Money held his first solo exhibition at the Rutland Gallery in Knightsbridge, with a collection of paintings of predominantly equine subjects. He subsequently held a series of solo watercolour shows at Fortescue Swann on an annual basis. During this time, Money was also included in several prominent exhibitions at The Royal Institute, Wildenstein and Spink. The 1978 Spink exhibition, Three Centuries of British Watercolour included three paintings by Keith Money, which were the only watercolours by a living practitioner. An extensive tour of East Africa, firstly in 1978, prompted a widely acclaimed Nairobi exhibition depicting Kenyan views. As well as exhibiting throughout London, Money also held shows in New York and Virginia, and over the years there have been a number of exhibitions in the English provinces.

In 1977, the prestigious American magazine Thoroughbred Recordpublished a nine-page article on Keith Money and his equestrian paintings, with a picture of Brigadier Gerard reproduced on the cover. Money’s oil pictures of Secretariat, Allez France and Dahlia were amongst those illustrated with the article. Money’s London exhibitions have contained paintings from numerous countries and range through Venice, Corfu, the Algarve and Lake Lucerne, as well as Ontario, Arizona, and both seaboards of America.

A Retrospective Exhibition was held in London at Oscar & Peter Johnson, in 1982. The work of this artist has been in the collections of Her Majesty the Queen, Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, HRH The Prince of Wales, the late Bernard, Duke of Norfolk, the late Mr Paul Mellon, and Miss Elizabeth Taylor.

Amongst Money’s book titles are four on Margot Fonteyn; a big biography of Anna Pavlova, which was described as “definitive” and “a triumph,” when it was published in 1982; and there are other books on the Royal Ballet, old-fashioned roses, and also one about the World Champion ice-skater John Curry.

In his earlier years, Money published several equestrian themed books. In that period he was also doing line illustrations for a variety of children’s volumes, including junior fiction by his friend Pat Smythe, the renowned British horsewoman. He also directed a documentary film about Fonteyn, which screened in Britain to celebrate the great ballerina’s 50th birthday; and he has appeared in various documentaries by others.

Throughout his wide-ranging career, Keith Money has painted a diverse range of subjects, and for a decade, his equestrian landscapes were sold at ‘top of the range’ prices. In the eighties, Money’s working hand was struck by a condition akin to that which affects some pianists, and his painting ceased for six years; then, almost miraculously, the hand righted itself, and Money picked up the artwork where he had left off. Noticeably, his nuance and control, now, is that of a far younger man’s. Money is renowned for his subtle skies and the great facility of brushwork in his watercolour painting, and these works are known for their distinctive atmospheric qualities. His drawings demonstrate an outstanding natural draftsmanship, which was commented on by Dame Laura Knight, when the young artist was first in London. She was fascinated by his skill, and inscribed drawings of her own, to Money, “with love and admiration.”