ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Black Beauty in Our Culture - Book, Movies, and More

Updated on August 23, 2014

Black Beauty - A Classic Book Published in 1877

Beauty in Black
Beauty in Black | Source

Black Beauty, the Book

Black Beauty (Puffin Classics)
Black Beauty (Puffin Classics)

The classic version of Black Beauty written by Anna Sewell, originally published in 1877.

Anna Sewell, Author of Black Beauty
Anna Sewell, Author of Black Beauty | Source

Black Beauty - It All Started With a Book

Anna Sewell had only one novel published, but it became a popular bestseller: Black Beauty . She didn't write it for children. Her intention was "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding of horses" in those who worked with them.

Black Beauty , published in 1877 when Anna Sewell was 57 years of age, is the story of a horse's life - from the point of view of the horse. It is said to be the first novel told from an animal's viewpoint.

Miss Sewell, never married, died only five months after her novel was published. She had been lame all her life since a tragic accident at the age of 14 broke both her ankles, so she relied on horse-drawn carriages for transportation. Her compassion for horses may have come from this constant contact with them.

Her book:

Black Beauty was treasured as a foal, loved as a colt, and was passed from one owner to the next with an increasing neglect for his well-being. Throughout the novel we hear his thoughts on events around him - especially poignant are his friendships with the beautiful but petulant Ginger, a mare, and a white pony, Merrylegs.

As a means to raise awareness concerning the maltreatment of horses, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty was a profound success. To this day her book is treasured by horse lovers thorughout the world.

Here are the opening lines of Black Beauty :

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside; at the top of the meadow was a grove of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank.

While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the grove.

As soon as I was old enough to eat grass my mother used to go out to work in the daytime, and come back in the evening.

There were six young colts in the meadow besides me; they were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together round and round the field as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.

One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said:

"I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are cart-horse colts, and of course they have not learned manners. You have been well-bred and well-born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races; your grandmother had the sweetest temper of any horse I ever knew, and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."

I have never forgotten my mother's advice; I knew she was a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her. Her name was Duchess, but he often called her Pet.

The most recent movie version - Black Beauty (1994)


Black Beauty

Black Beauty (1994)

The most recent film version of Black Beauty was released in 1994. It is said to be the version that most closely follows the story told in Anna Sewell's book.

The horse who acted the part of Black Beauty in this film, Docs Keepin Time, is an American Quarter Horse descended from War Admiral, his sire, Man O'War, and the Godolphin Arabian.

The movie contains breathtaking film of Black Beauty and his beloved Ginger in the days when they were happiest. It starts with a scene of him resting beneath a tree in his old age, then flashes back to his birth. Black Beauty tells the story of his life throughout.

Black Beauty (1971)


Black Beauty (1971)

This is an entertaining version that does try to tell the original story of Black Beauty from his point of view, but there are many modifications and it is far different than Anna Sewell's version.

A surprise ending has Anna Sewell as owner of the final estate he is to live on. We see Anna Sewell as an old lady concerned about his well-being. Of course, the real Anna Sewell never lived to old age.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this movie and recommend it to anyone who loves horse movies, along with the 1994 version of Black Beauty.

Black Beauty - model and book

Black Beauty (1921) and (1946)

These two versions do not even try to follow the story told in the book. The 1921 version was a hasty remake of an earlier film titled Your Obedient Servant (1917). It was scrambled with film including a black horse to defy another film studio's attempt to make a movie version of Black Beauty .

The 1946 version, a beloved film in its own right, was not even remotely faithful to the story told by Anna Sewell. In it a young girl named Anne was given a black colt that became the center of her life. As she got older and attracted a suitor, her father decided she needed to be sent to finishing school for a year. When she returns she finds out her father ordered Black Beauty to be shot so the compassionate caretaker gave him away to spare his life.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • daybreak profile image


      8 years ago from Atlantic Coast of North America

      I would highly recommend the book or video!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)