The Painting
Skinner’s Horse, 48″ x 48″, oil on wood panel, 2015. Available at Winchester Galleries (2260 Oak Bay Avenue)

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Skinner’s Horse, 48″ x 48″, oil on wood panel, 2015

Front Window at Winchester Galleries August 2015.

Front Window at Winchester Galleries August 2015.

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Skinner’s Horse, detail.

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Skinner’s Horse, detail

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Skinner’s Horse, detail

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Skinner’s Horse, detail

Carollyne with Skinner's Horse

Carollyne with Skinner’s Horse

Video of Behind the Scenes Footage
Mask: Archie McPhee. Film footage: Jen Steele. Model: Peter Mazzoni. Music: Hugh Yardley. Lyrics: Sharon Tomczyk. Performed by Counting Time. (The Legend).

The Cary Mews Costume Museum at Government House, British Columbia

Susan Erling-Tyrell, Curator, Costume Museum at Government House, collaborated with me on this project. Earlier this year, she provided me with access and inspiration to some magnificent gowns and uniforms at the Costume Museum. The Skinner’s Horse Regiment uniform spoke to me through the vibrance of its “canary” yellow jacket. However, once I started the painting, Susan recommended I complete the piece in black and white for added impact. It was a brilliant idea.

The Costume Museum showcases vintage attire, from Lieutenant Governors’ uniforms and Chatelaines’ evening gowns to an original butler’s uniform and other historical artifacts from the Government House collection. It is open May 15 to September 15.

Carollyne with Susan Erling-Tyrell, Curator of the Costume Museum, Gorvernment House.

Carollyne (l) with Susan Erling-Tyrell (r), Curator of the Costume Museum, Gorvernment House. Photo from Never Dine Alone art opening 2011.

See the Skinner’s Horse uniform for yourself!  Also enjoy the Tea House and Interpretive Centre.

Location: 1401 Rockland Avenue, Victoria, BC
Website: http://www.ltgov.bc.ca
Phone: Tel: 250-858-4417

The Cary Mews Costume Museum at Government House.

The Cary Mews Costume Museum at Government House.

The Cary Mews Costume Museum at Government House.

The Cary Mews Costume Museum at Government House.

Skinner’s Horse Regiment, India

James Skinner CB (1778–1841), 19th century. Probably from Thomas Metcalfe's book dated 1843. Wikipedia.

James Skinner CB (1778–1841), 19th century. Probably from Thomas Metcalfe’s book dated 1843. Wikipedia.

The Regiment’s foundation was 1803 as Skinner’s Horse by James Skinner (Sikander Sahib) as an irregular cavalry regiment in the service of the East India Company. The regiment became (and remains) one of the senior-most cavalry regiments of the Armoured Corps of the Indian Army. James Skinner’s cavalry regiment was famous for its horsemanship.

There were two regiments of Indian Cavalry raised by Colonel James Skinner in 1803. They became the 1st Bengal Lancers and the 3rd Skinner’s Horse. On the reduction of the Indian Army in 1922, they were amalgamated and became Skinner’s Horse (1st Duke of York’s Own Cavalry).

The old 1st Lancers wore yellow uniforms (unique to the British Empire) and the old 3rd wore dark blue. The “yellow” was actually close to mustard in shade but led to the regiment being nicknamed “Canaries” from it’s formation.

The Uniform

The uniform seen in the painting “Skinner’s Horse”, is a very rare Skinners Horse Regiment (from India) uniform, complete with dispatch belt. It is part of the collection at the Costume Museum at Government House, British Columbia.  This outfit belonged to Major General Temple Hugh Travers and was donated by his son, Tim Travers.

Each regiment had the full-dress (mounted) long ‘Kurta’ worn with a turban and cummerbund for all ranks, also a full-dress (dismounted) or levee. These were not in general use after 1914 but could still be worn by officers on special assignments (e.g. as an aide-de-camp) or while attending court functions.

Skinner's Horse jacket

Skinner’s Horse jacket

Skinner's Horse Vest

Skinner’s Horse Vest

The merged Skinner’s Horse was assigned a dark blue full dress with yellow facings in 1922 but by 1931 the historic yellow and black had been restored. The mess jacket and waistcoat of the old 1st Bengal Lancers was adopted by the 1922 regiment of Skinner’s Horse and was the cold weather mess dress until 1939.

All six of these various uniforms are in the collection of the National Army Museum.

Reenactment Groups

Skinner’s Horse is a group dedicated to the recreation of the dash and glamour of one of the most famous Indian cavalry regiments at the time of the Raj. The Regiment has an exalted history and we bring you a taste of this magnificent regiment putting on spectacular mounted displays as officers of the regiment in authentic period uniforms mounted on fiery chargers. http://www.skinnershorse.co.uk

The Horse Head Mask

The original horse head mask was manufactured by the Seattle-based novelty dealer Archie McPhee & Co. and made available for sale through websites as early as February 1st, 2002. The store and it’s products are super famous. David Wahl is their Director of Awesome AND is an art collector of Squirrealism.

Original Horse Head Mask by Archie McPhee

Original Horse Head Mask by Archie McPhee

The concept of wearing a horse head mask for purposes other than as a Halloween costume can be found in the The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel published on June 29th, 2005. In the book, one of the social experiments called “Horse Head Adventure” suggested one of the travelers to wear a horse mask while the group were touring places on vacation.

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel

Know Your Meme and Anonymity
(http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/horse-head-mask)

Horse Head Mask is a soft vinyl and latex mask that is worn by people all over the world for humorous effect and a symbol of Anonymous on the Japanese web, similar to the use of Green Masks Guy Fawkes Masks.

Canadian talk show host Tom Green once ran an episode where he wore the mask and started screaming while shaking his head around, seemingly as a parody of Mitchell Henderson. This is currently the first known usage of the mask in web video. Tom Green and Radioactive Chicken Heads & Count Smokula.

On Nico Nico Douga

On the Japanese video-sharing website Nico Nico Douga, many who wish to remain Anonymous wear masks, one of the most popular choices being the horse head mask. It eventually took off and became one of the signature masks to be used by the community, alongside the Scream Mask and the Darth Vader Helmet. However, in contrast the two other masks that became iconic through popular films, the horse head mask gained its popularity though spontaneous, mass adoption, possibly influenced by Japanese performance artist Wotaken.

Horse Boy on Google Maps

A man named Dobbin Horsome donned the mask immediately when a Google Street View car was driving by and was photographed by the passing vehicle. The picture was taken in the Hardgate area of the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. According to Dobbin, he was just heading to a pub where his newly wedded friend was at when he noticed the Google car driving up towards him. Since he had the mask with him, he decided on a whim to wear it so that the car would take a picture of him with it on.

Horse Boy on Google Maps

 

Popular Culture
The 28 Best Horse Head Mask GIFs on the Internet