Edward Troye: The Horse’s Artist

Edward Troye, 1808-1874

For horse lovers and those who love Thoroughbred racing along with the sport’s history, we can thank a famous artist who played a pivotal role in chronicling many of the nineteenth century’s famous race horses. His name was Edward Troye (1808-1874). According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, he was “nineteenth century America’s first important portrait and landscape painter.”[1]

          Though born in Switzerland, he eventually moved to the United States and later lived in Mobile, Alabama (1849-1855), where he taught painting and French at Spring Hill College[2]. He painted horses as well as people, but his horse portraits are what earned him fame. His accuracy and attention to detail are stunning, to say the least. His work included not just the horses, but jockeys and trainers as well, providing us with a visual chronicle of the antebellum era’s favorite sport.

          In 1869, he retired and moved to a farm in Owens Crossroads, Alabama. Even though he’d now turned to farming, he never quit painting and died of pneumonia in 1874.

          In my current work-in-progress, primarily set in Mobile against the backdrop of Thoroughbred racing, Edward Troye is a teacher at Spring Hill College and is in much demand by the city’s turfmen as a painter of their horses.

To view some of his paintings, visit the National Sporting and Library Museum at


[1] Genevieve Baird Lacer, “Edward Troye,” the online version of the  Encyclopedia of Alabama,  accessed Jully 16, 2020, http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2560

[2] “Faithfulness to Nature: Paintings by Edward Troye,”  Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, accessed July 16, 2020,  https://harnessmuseum.com/content/edward-troye