The present work is a study for The Riders (1912; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield). The finished picture, measuring a monumental 8ft x 7ft, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1911. It was painted on the Yorkshire Moors near Carperby during August and September 1910 with Mrs Colpitts and Arthur Curwen as the models, and Black Prince as the model for the maverick horse.
The Riders was largely inspired by Robert Browning's poem, The Last Ride Together (1855): 'What if we still ride on we two, with love forever old - forever new'. In a striking composition, the artist makes a bold feminist statement: the girl self-sufficient, perceptive and free on the black stallion, her male companion suppliant and hampered on the white mare (see L. Wortley, Lucy Kemp-Welch The Spirit of the Horse, London, 1996, p. 114, The Riders illustrated p. 92).