figure drawings

Figure Drawing

Horse Anatomy

A Handbook for Artists
Comprising the Study of the Proportion and Action
of the Horse as Compared to Man.

by Lewis S. Brown

Home Learn How to Draw How to draw People StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Learn How to Draw Perspective How to Paint How to Draw Cartoons

Horse anatomy; A handbook for artists, comprising the study of the proportion, structure and action of the horse as compared to man at

This amazing book was a labor of love by the author who was taken with the idea of comparing the physical structure of man to that of the horse when he saw an exhibit of skeletons of a man and a horse arranged in similar positions in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He worked on it as time allowed for seventeen years and eventually published it in 1948. From what I can tell that was the only edition.

It includes accurate drawings of horses and men and women juxtaposed with each other with charts of human proportions compared with horse proportions, and drawings of muscular structure and skeletal structure. He also includes studies of the horse gait which were based on the work of Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion. See Horses and Other Animals in Motion: 45 Classic Photographic Sequences

Lewis Stacey Brown was himself an employee of the American Museum of Natural History. He edited another book An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists By Wilhelm Ellenberger

Table of Contents:

Saddle bred

Animal Motion
The Walk
The Amble
The Slow Trot
The Fast Trot
The Rack
The Canter
The Gallop
The Leap

General Anatomy
The Skeleton Muscle Structure
Outside Layer of Muscles
Deeper Muscles
Back View
Outside View
Medial View
Front View
Three Quarter View
Lateral View
Front View
Back View
Medial View
Lateral View
Front View
List of Illustrations:

Points of the Horse
Poor Conformation
Two Work Horses
Clydesdale Mare
Common Horse
Horses Under Saddle
Draft Type
Show Type
Proportions of Work Horse
Proportions of Arabian Stallion
Proportions of Arabian Mare
Proportions of Percheron Mare
Proportions of Percheron Stallion
Speed and Draft Types Compared
Proportions of Race Horse
Proportions of Colts
Proportions of American Saddle Horse
Proportions of Two Hunters
Proportions of Shetland Pony
Proportions of Mules
Proportions of Asses
Bucking Horses
Beauty Walks
Beauty Pulls a Load
Labradorite Ambles
Slow Trot of Beauty
Fast Trot of Abelard
Fast Rack of Abelard
Thimble Canters
Sevenlaws Gallops
Extension in Gallop
Suspension in Gallop
Thimble Leaps a Fence
Superficial Muscles
Bone Structure
Superficial Muscles
Outside Muscles of Beauty
Deeper Muscles of Beauty
Skeleton of Beauty
Posterior Limb - Back View
Posterior Limb - Outside View
Posterior Limb - Medial View
Posterior Limb - Front View
Fore Limb - 3/4 Front View
Fore Limb - Lateral View
Fore Limb - Front View
Fore Limb - Back View
Fore Limb - Medial View
The Head - Lateral View
The Head - Front View

From the Foreword:

This little book has been a long time growing. Its real beginning was about seventeen years ago when the author for the first time stood before skeletons of a horse and a man shown in similar positions, mounted by S. Harmstead Chubb in his Hall of the Horse in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It was then that the author realized that it should be possible to gather and present facts about the two forms which they both possessed and which could easily be understood by a person having some knowledge of the anatomy of man. The gathering and presenting of these facts has not been a simple task.

The author wished to produce a work which would be of real use to artists. Artists learn much more from what they see than from what they read. Therefore pictures should be used rather than text whenever practical. It should be so arranged that a person with little knowledge could find a place to begin and as his knowledge grew could continue to find enough information to satisfy his needs. In other words it should be simple yet complete. Complete in the information it contained, yet simple in the way in which it was presented. It would not be a new method or short cut to drawing the horse for good drawing is only based on knowledge.

The information in this volume has come from many sources. These have been studied and checked against other sources in an attempt to eliminate as many errors and fallacies as possible. In his studying the author came to realize that there existed outside of nature itself, three great sources of information on the horse of particular interest to the artist. Over sixty years ago, Eadouard Muybridge made the first careful accurate photographic studies of horses in motion. A little later Professor Ellenburgher made a very careful series of anatomical drawings still used in the best works for veterinarians. S. Harmstead Chubb of the American Museum of Natural History in New York pioneered in accurate studies of action as it related to, and is dependent upon, the skeleton. In his Hall of the Horse are his mounted animals in positions indicative of life, a great departure from the old stringing together of bones, and of unique interest and value to the man who would make an accurate drawing of the horse, as a correct expression of outward form requires a knowledge of this internal structure. The author is much indebted to the pioneer work of these men in his drawings of the bones, the muscles, and the gaits. The charts on proportion are based on actual measurements of horses and of people. It must be understood that there is some difference of opinion as regards the notable characteristics of the different breeds. The author has tried to combine the opinions of many people rather than to express only his own.

It has been the author's experience that in the beginning the artist needed most to learn proportion, next, possible action, and last, to complete a drawing, the structure of muscles and bones. The sections in this book have been arranged that way, going from the general to the specific.

From the Introduction:

The first thing to realize about horses is their variability. The family name equidae, meaning horses, includes such varied forms as zebras, donkeys, Shetland ponies,Thoroughbreds, and Belgians. We are going to interest ourselves only in the kinds of horses an artist or illustrator might have occasion to draw.

Only a few horses are pure bred. By pure bred we mean animal which comes up to the standard set by a breeding society for a special kind of horse. There are about twenty recognized breeds. Before entering upon a careful study of breeds, it is important to consider which points determine whether an animal is a good or a poor specimen.

If an illustrator is called upon to draw an old gray mare he will wish to give her some of the defects found in old, poor horses. If he is to draw a racing thoroughbred, he will wish to know the points which are characteristic.

The following eight pages show generalizcd bits of information. It must be understood that a horse is considered good or poor structurally only in relation to the work he is supposed to perform. The strains to which a pulling draft horse is subjected would quickly ruin a light weight, rangier animal. The peculiar shocks that a hunter's legs must take, would be unendurable to a heavy Percheron of approved type, assuming that he could, under any circumanstances, project himself into the air and over a high barrier.

In addition to the adaptability of structure to a given action, there is generally a special period of training to fit the animal to its task. Structurally the thoroughbred flat racer may differ but little from a thoroughbred jumping hunter.

Most of the animals shown have been given names in order to more easily identify them. These names are purely fictitious, although an attempt has been made to simulate the kind of name usually given to the breeds represented.

From Model Horse Reference: Horse Structure Reference Library Listing
compiled by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig
"HORSE ANATOMY, A Handbook for Artists, Comprising the Study of the Proportion, Structure and Action of the Horse, as Compared to Man, Lewis S. Brown, 1948, Bridgman Publishers, Inc., Pelham NY. Comments: A totally gorgeous book filled with beautiful illustrations of horses and nudes (go figure). Deals largely with proportional issues, but also with motion issues of the horse. The pages illustrating anatomy of both horse and man are fabulous. If you can find this book, absolutely get it."

Original editions at
Horse Anatomy a Handbook for Artists
Horse anatomy: A handbook for artists, comprising the study of the proportion, structure and action of the horse as compared to man
HORSE ANATOMY: A Handbook for Artists, Comprising the Study of the Proportion, Structure and Action of the Horse, As Compared to Man.
An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists

Search for related books at
Set the search parameter for "Author" and enter the search term:
Lewis S. Brown
Also try searching for:
Horse Anatomy to see related books.

Horses and Other Animals in Motion: 45 Classic Photographic Sequences

Muybridge's Animals in Motion CD-ROM and Book (Electronic Clip Art)

Muybridge's Complete Human and Animal Locomotion : All 781 Plates from the 1887 Animal Locomotion: New Volume 2 (Reprint of original volumes 5-8)


Back to Top of Page