The National Sporting Library & Museum Highlights Illustrator Paul Brown

MIDDLEBURG, Virginia­­—August 11, 2015­­—This fall the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) will present an exhibition of works by American illustrator Paul Desmond Brown (1893-1958). Paul Brown from the Permanent Collection, opening August 29th, will feature highlights of Brown’s original equestrian artwork from the NSLM collections and focus on steeplechasing images from the 1930s. The exhibition will be on view in the Museum until January 17, 2016.

Paul Brown, a highly prolific and popular illustrator of the early 20th century, published works in hundreds of books and periodicals, including Time Magazine, Collier’s, Country Life, and Polo. He gained recognition as a commercial artist with many of his illustrations used on Brooks Brothers of New York’s advertising materials. Brown was considered an expert sporting artist for his depictions of horse racing, foxhunting, and polo scenes.The NSLM collection includes over 100 books illustrated or written by Brown, over 200 examples of his original drawings, sketches, and watercolors, and multiple pieces of ephemera and archival materials.

Original pencil drawings from Brown’s most popular books Spills and Thrills (1933), Ups and Downs (1936), and Good Luck and Bad (1940) will be on display for the first time. As the book titles imply, these drawings are full of spectacular scenes and terrifying crashes from equestrian events. While some are finished pencil and ink illustrations, many are quick, light sketches showing his unique talent for capturing motion in a single frame. Most of the works are inscribed with the artist’s personal notes and handwritten commentary.

The exhibition will highlight Brown’s steeplechasing images which are a fitting compliment to NSLM’s September release of the Llangollen Race Meeting Sketchbook. In this previously unpublished sketchbook, Brown documents the 1931 Piedmont Fox Hounds steeplechase event at Llangollen Farm in Upperville, Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. John Hay (Jock) Whitney, owners of Llangollen Farm at the time, were presented with the commemorative sketchbook which consists of fifteen images illustrating scenes of the Llangollen race. The one-of-a-kind, large format folio of drawings was donated to NSLM by Helen K. Groves in 2008.

This special printing of the Llangollen Race Meeting Sketchbook includes an essay by Dorothy Ours, John H. Daniels Fellow and author of the award-winning book Battleship: A Daring Heiressa Teenage Jockey, and America’s Horse (2013). Ours’ essay interprets Brown’s importance as a sporting artist of the 20th century, the excitement of American steeplechase racing in the 1930s, and the Whitneys’ development of a revolutionary style of race course. The Llangollen Race Meeting Sketchbook will be available for purchase from NSLM at  starting September 12th.

Museum admission: Adults $10, Seniors (65 and older) $8, Youth (13-18) $8, Youth (12 & under) Free. Library admission is free to the public. Museum admission is free on Wednesdays and the last Sunday of each month. Museum admission is free to NSLM members.

Hours: Wednesdays, Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The National Sporting Library & Museum ( is the only institution in the world whose sole focus is to preserve and share the art and literature of equestrian, angling and field sports. Founded in 1954, NSLM holds thousands of books on sporting topics including hunting, angling, equestrianism and horseracing, among others. The Library collection dates from the 16th - 21st centuries. The Museum houses exhibits of American and European animal and sporting fine art. 

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