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V
IRGINIA ORISON GALLERY

Active in the 1950's, Virginia created horse sculpures from balsa armatures covered in shaved veal hides; her pintos were the nicest and had hand-picked and fitted spotted hides. Although they sound morbid, these wonderful pieces were exceptionally well-done and exhibited very good breed type. Virginia was once featured on a 50's news-reel show which some have been lucky enough to see on American Movie Classics; her sculptures have always been popular collector's pieces but are very hard to find these days.

Frances Romney writes: On your Virginia Orison page, please advise readers that Ms. Orison also created one-of-a-kind wood-pulp sculptures, making them to order for readers of the various Horsemen's magazines. The several wood-pulp quarter horses, the saddlebred, and the Appaloosa I sent in photos of last year, as well as the photo of the collection were sold via ads in Western Horseman, Horse Lover's etc. The collection photo is straight out of an ad in the Western Horseman, 1958. Ms. Orison would make the horse exactly as requested by the buyer. If you wanted a stocky, heavily muscled quarter horse such as the bay, she would do that for you. The lean, trim palomino (with the broken face showing a repair to the eye and the jaw) was modeled after a real horse, by request of the owner, as was the palomino with the hand-made leather saddle. I ordered a Palomino with a roached mane with full western roping saddle and hackamore, and she made it exactly to my specifications, all the way down to the color of the hooves and the star on his forehead. The badly-treated palomino in the photo is similar, but not the same horse I ordered from her in 1954. It was my special Christmas present. Little did I know that my REAL horse (that I got the following spring) would be an exact duplicate in color of the one I ordered! :-)

I have been searching eBay and other sites for more of her sculptures, but they are terrifically hard to find! I am trying to find out all I can about Ms. Orison, with very little luck. I would love to write a history of her works, but there are so few references to her, it is hard to put anything together. If any of your readers have more info, please have them e-mail me at: fromney@xmission.com.



Arabian with English Tack
Shown as "Nairobi," this piece is deceased; photo provided by Elizabeth Bouras

Arabian with Costume
Photo provided by Elizabeth Bouras, owner unknown

Palomino
Image provided by, owned by Frances Romney.

Bay horse
Image provided by, owned by Frances Romney.

Buckskin horse
Image, owned by Frances Romney.

Black Saddlebred
Owner unknown.

Black blanket Appaloos
Owner unknown

Collection photo
Owner unknown


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