Horses have always fascinated artists. Here, Sargent renders these working horses with elegance and dignity. Less interested in the beauty of one single horse, Sargent chose an angle from which he was able to see the repeating forms of multiple backs. As Sargent stated in a letter to Isabella Stewart Gardner, he was drawn to the romantic appeal of the subject during a trip to the Middle East.
Source: Oliver Tostmann and Anne-Marie Eze, The Inscrutable Eye: Watercolors by John Singer Sargent in Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Collection, exhibition on view in the Museum's Fenway Gallery, October 31, 2013–January 20, 2014.