at daybreak the sea went back to its place

The “Pharaoh’s Horses” has been yet another mainstay for over 100 years in the tattoo industry. Up until 1999 the credit for the originator of this design was given to  J.F. Herring Sr. He painted his version in 1848. But in 1999 R.E. Tyree, a painter and art enthusiast from Leslie, Missouri, came across an old square-shaped oil painting of three white Arabian horses charging into a stormy sea at a flea market and purchased it for $25. He had the fabric and pigments tested.  This is what Dr. Walter McCrone of the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago found.  “Most of these pigments were known before 1300. Only Van Dyke brown and Prussian blue date from 1700. This, plus the absence of 19th and 20th century (paints), strongly suggests an 18th-century date. The fact that the canvas is hand-woven further supports this conclusion.”  Unfortunately the painting is unsigned so no credit can be given but the story was fascinating enough to put in a book called “The Mystery of Pharaoh’s Horses” by R.E. Tyree.

This first painting is the original unsigned version. The second is J.F. Herring Sr.’s version now believed to be inspired by the former.

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