Banner: Detail of Long Red Poppies © Rae Smith

The Lightbox commemorated the centenary of World War One with the exhibition 'The Horse at War: 1914 – 1918'. Exploring the role of the horse in World War One, the exhibition compared the glorified image of Officers and their chargers at War with the piteous desolation of these animals as beasts of burden when faced with gunfire and trench warfare.

We are delighted that 'Joey', the original West End horse puppet from the National Theatre’s acclaimed stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel 'War Horse', will featured in the exhibition. The puppet, designed by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of Handspring Puppet Company, was kindly loaned to us by the V&A's Theatre and Performance Collection. This was the first time that 'Joey' appeared in an exhibition outside of London.

Three mannequin puppeteers, in costumes designed by Illustrator and Theatre Designer Rae Smith, who won Tony and Olivier Awards for her scenic designs and drawings for the National Theatre’s production of 'War Horse', were displayed alonside Joey. Drawings by Rae Smith, which were created for sensational projections and animations for the National Theatres Live performance of 'War Horse' also featured in the exhibition. Rae Smith’s 'The War Horse Panorama', a 24 meter panoramic which tells the entire story of 'War Horse', was also on show.

Curator of the exhibition, Michael Regan, developed a unique layout which depicted the story of the horse at war through many different facets, combining contemporary elements with original works from artists present in the battlefield. The exhibition also investigated the effects that losing thousands of horses to the war effort had on the local Surrey farming communities and other businesses that relied on horses for transport.

25 November 2014 – 1 March 2015

Images: (left to right) The Grey Mare © The Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings; The cast of War Horse at the New London Theatre, photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg.

To find out more about the art of Sir Alfred Munnings, whose art works featured in the exhibition, read our blog by guest writers Dr Bill Teatheredge, Curatorial Researcher at the Munnings Collection, and Jenny Hand, Director at The Munnings Art Museum.