Black Beauty


Anna Sewell’s novel, told in the voice of Black Beauty himself, was first published just before Christmas 1877. Originally aimed at those who worked with horses it has become a children’s literary classic, perhaps because it reflects a child’s sense of impotence. 

This frontispiece depicts a turning point in Black Beauty’s life, when a drunken rider causes him to fall, throwing the rider and precipitating a gradual decline in his own fortunes. Through her protagonist, Sewell draws attention to cruelty towards horses in general and criticises some specific practices such as the use of the bearing-rein. Following slow initial sales, the book became an influential best-seller.

Full title:
Black Beauty: his grooms and companions. The autobiography of a horse. Translated from the original equine, by Anna Sewell.
1877, London
Printed book / Children's book
Anna Sewell
Usage terms
Public Domain

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