Whenever you saw him he had this aura about him, unlike any other horse I have seen and it was this, and his staggering achievements, which I wanted to capture in the portrait.

Chris Levine to unveil unique Frankel portrait

Royal artist to exhibit his first equine portrait of Frankel at Ascot on British Champions Day

Chris Levine, the light artist famous for his iconic portrait of the Queen, Lightness of Being (2007), is to unveil a dramatic new portrait of Frankel at Ascot Racecourse on QIPCO British Champions Day (Saturday 19th October).

Chris Levine, a pioneering light artist who works across many media, has created a revolutionary new image using his unique light-based approach to portray the world-champion racehorse in a way never seen before. The shoot at the stallion’s new home at Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket took two days to complete with Frankel behaving impeccably throughout the ‘sitting’.

Frankel was unbeaten in a fourteen race career including spectacular victories at Ascot on British Champions Day in 2011 and 2012, making the Berkshire Racecourse the obvious place to unveil Levine’s important new artwork. 

Levine was fascinated by the horse’s extraordinary track record and gained special access to photograph him in June at the Stud Farm of his owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah. The result is a radical reworking of the age old tradition of equestrian portraiture which seeks to take us beyond a standard portrayal of a perfect physical specimen and instead present the viewer with Frankel’s imposing, captivating and daunting level of achievement.

By simultaneously capturing multiple frames in mere seconds, Levine’s unprecedented approach has created an awe-inspiring image which focuses attention on the energy of light surrounding
and emanating from his subject, lending the work a realism which is almost magical.                

Levine said, “Frankel’s breath-taking exploits on the track secured his place amongst sporting icons and in the heart of the nation. Whenever you saw him he had this aura about him, unlike any other horse I have seen and it was this, and his staggering achievements, which I wanted to capture in the portrait. Working with a stallion brought with it a number of challenges but I wanted to create an image which went beyond the traditional oil equine portraits or sports photography and which presented Frankel as a very modern superstar.”

Lord Grimthorpe, Racing Manager at Juddmonte Farms said, "For centuries horse racing and fine art have been closely associated so it seems very appropriate that Chris Levine, one of the world's greatest light artists, has chosen Frankel as his first equine subject. We can't wait to see his new work unveiled at Ascot on British Champions Day, a course where Frankel recorded five of his finest performances."

Philip Mitchell, General Manager of Juddmonte Farms said “when myself and Wendy Johnson Houghton (Head of Marketing) went through the number of proposals we had received from various artists regarding Frankel, the one received from Chris Levine was a stand-out and we were delighted to be part of such an innovative project. The shoot was a very different process than we had experienced before, but Frankel of course took all this in his stride, much to the relief of stud manager Simon Mockridge and head stallion man Rob Bowley.”

The ground-breaking portrait will be displayed in public for the first time at Ascot on Saturday 19th October as part of QIPCO British Champions Day, the richest race day in Great Britain with £3.4 million in prize money on offer.

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Frankel Facts

Frankel was the leading sire by average at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale (Book 1) and Arqana August Yearling Sale (with more than one sold) in 2015 and the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in 2016.