Susan Crawford was born in Scotland in 1941 and was brought up on a farm in East Lothian where her parents bred and trained racehorses. She was educated at St Denis School, Edinburgh and at Priorsfield, Godalming, before studying classical drawing for two years at Studio Simi in Florence. In 1967 she went to Ireland for a few days and stayed for almost two years, thereby kicking off her professional career as an equestrian artist.
On returning to London she bought a studio and started getting private commissions to paint a number of famous racehorses and several royal portraits. She has to date (2017) painted 22 Derby winners. Her first joint exhibition was with the Tryon Gallery in 1969, where she sold all her pictures on the opening night.
Over the next 40 years she travelled widely; firstly to the USA then Canada, Germany, Brunei, Australia and the Sultanate of Oman as well as with numerous visits to Ireland and throughout the UK.
The late art critic Stella Walker said of Susan’s work: “Racing historians will be forever in her debt for her convincing portraits of such stars of the turf as Ribot, Northern Dancer, Sadler’s Wells, Shirley Heights, Nijinsky, Sir Ivor, Mill Reef and Dancing Brave. The quality and distinction of her work, effectively reflecting the influence of Stubbs, has assured her recognition as one of the most accomplished sporting artists of her era.”
Her portrait of Arkle, Red Rum and Desert Orchid (entitled We Three Kings) is still a best selling print world-wide. We Three Kings was painted originally for the Injured Jockeys Fund Christmas card before it became an internationally best selling print.
She now lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband Jeremy along with numerous dogs, ducks, chickens and pigeons. They have two children, Jake Phipps (a product designer), and Jemma Phipps (a portrait painter), along with several grandchildren.
Portrait Commissions include:
HM The Queen, HRH The Prince of Wales, HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH The Princess Royal, HH The Sultan of Brunei and HM Sultan Qaboos of Oman.
Her work has been exhibited at:
The Royal Scottish Academy, The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Academy of Arts, The Queen’s Gallery, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The National Horseracing Museum Newmarket, The National Gallery of Pahang Pinang Malaysia, Arthur Ackerman & Son, The David Ker Gallery, The Tryon Gallery and the Crossgate Gallery, Lexington Kentucky.
HM The Queen, HRH The Prince of Wales, HM The Sultan of Oman, Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah, The Duke of Devonshire, The Marchioness of Tavistock, Lady Bamford, Lord Howard De Walden, Lord Vestey, Lord Weinstock, Mr Paul Mellon (USA), Mr Jock Whitney (USA), Mr Frank Stronach (Canada), Mr Kerry Packer (Australia), Mr John Magnier, Mr Lester Piggott.
1972 The Tryon Gallery
1980 The Tryon Gallery
2001 The Tryon & Swann Gallery
“Susan Crawford’s working of her paintings is masterly and shows a deep love of horses and animals, together with a special sensitivity towards the human form and personality. Such talent is a rare gift and one that brings enormous and lasting joy into the lives of all who come into contact with it.” HRH The Prince of Wales.
“As with all animals, it seems to be the eyes, the set of the ears and the flare of the nostril which especially fascinates her. Through them she seems to feel – and conveys so well with brush and canvas – the fire and spirit, heart and intelligence of all the beautiful creatures she loves - and loves so much to paint.” John Oaksey.
“Susan Crawford has brought great distinction to British Sporting Art in this century.” Stella Walker 1989 – Trustee of the British Sporting Art Trust.