'To amaze the people with pleasure and delight' : an analysis of the horsemanship manuals of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle (1593-1676)
'To Amaze the People with Pleasure and Delight': an analysis of the horsemanship manuals of William Cavendish, the first Duke of Newcastle (1593-1676). William Cavendish published two horsemanship manuals in 1658 and 1667, setting out his method for the noble art of the riding house. This thesis argues that within the canon of Newcastle's writing, his horsemanship manuals are key texts, offering insights into his writing practice, personal philosophy and motivation. To understand the importance of the manuals in their cultural context, Newcastle's contribution to the development of riding as an art is considered, with particular reference to the way in which his attitude towards other authors influenced each manual. A detailed examination of the technical aspects of the manuals illustrates that to ignore the method in favour of the historical and political material is to overlook a vital element. Newcastle's understanding of the horse's mind is a key to his approach, therefore this study argues that his royalist ideologies are supported and paralleled through his treatment and expectation of his horses. The engraved plates that illustrate the first manual are analysed as multi-layered images, offering a notional journey through his estates. The thesis will conclude with consideration of near-contemporary responses to Newcastle's work and argue that the manuals' importance to his own self actualisation and emotional security is written as much into the practicalities of the method as the theatricalities of its presentation.