Happy National Girls & Women in Sports Day!
Franklin Brooke Voss (American, 1880–1953), "Portrait of Mrs. William C. Langley Aside on Sandown", 1921, oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches, Gift of Mrs. Eleanor Langley Fletcher, 1962
In this portrait, Mrs. Elida Bonnell Langley is elegantly turned-out with the Meadow Brook Hunt in the background. She also rode with the Orange County Hounds, Cedar Creek, and Piping Rock clubs on Long Island, as well as in England and Ireland. Along with her husband, they owned Atoka Farm in Middleburg, VA.
Voss captured the waning days of the sidesaddle. The early 20th century saw the emergence of the cross-saddle, a safer and more comfortable option to the sidesaddle. Choosing to ride astride, though, meant women had to wear breeches, still considered masculine. This brought an overlap of traditional and modern styles to the field: the elder generation wanting to maintain their modesty in skirts and the younger generation wanting the freedom to ride unencumbered by breeches.
Voss came from a family of artists: in addition to various extended family members, his four siblings and sister-in-law were all artists. He also came from a family of foxhunters: his uncle formed the Elkridge Hounds (later the Elkridge-Harford Hounds) in Monkton, MD, and his father founded the Rockaway Hunt Club on Long Island, NY. Voss regularly hunted with both, as well as the Meadow Brook Hunt.
This painting is currently on display in our Highlights from the Permanent Collection exhibit. Museum hours: Thursday-Sunday, 10:00am-5:00pm