We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

We plan to reopen on Tuesday, 18 May! Find out more.

John Gibson RA, The Hours Leading the Horses of the Sun

The Hours Leading the Horses of the Sun, before 1849

John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)

RA Collection: Art

A pen and ink drawing of the Hours, three winged female figures, leading four horses towards a chariot on the left. Next to the chariot are the standing figures of a man and a young boy, probably representing Phaeton and Apollo. On the far right one of the Hours holds two horses. In front of her the other two Hours each hold one rearing horse. The drawing is in pen and ink outline against a pale sepia wash background and with light shading in tones of sepia wash. Two pen line borders are drawn around the edges of the sheet.

This drawing appears to be an early version of the design for Gibson's relief The Hours Leading the Horses of the Sun (1849 for Wentworth House, see also RA model, 03/2044). In the finished work Gibson omitted Apollo and Phaeton and altered the poses of both the horses and the Hours themselves. The artist related how he developed this subject over several years. When Earl Fitzwilliam visited Gibson's studio in Rome, he was shown the artist's book of designs, incluing one depicting the Hours and the Horses of the Sun. Gibson wrote that he had kept this composition 'on hand for two or three years, and every now and then improving it'. He recalled that Earl Fitzwilliam visited the studio again with his daughters 'and very soon asked to see my book of drawings, and particularly wished that I should point out to him the sketch of the Hours and the horses of the Sun, which I soon turned to. Lady Charlotte began to admire it, dwelling upon it ... in fact, Lady Charlotte advised her father to have it executed.'

Object details

The Hours Leading the Horses of the Sun
John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)
before 1849
Object type
Pen and ink and wash over pencil on wove paper

132 mm x 417 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Bequeathed by John Gibson RA 1866

Associated works of art

1 results

return to start

Start exploring the RA Collection

read more
  • Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
  • Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
    Our Collection is a record of them.
Start exploring