VCU Libraries Gallery

Cabell's Horses

Cabell bookplate, detail

Cabell's bookplate, detail

Horses galloped freely in James Branch Cabell's imagination. The name Cabell comes from the Latin word caballus meaning horse, and a rearing stallion was Cabell's heraldic emblem. His 1926 work, The Silver Stallion, concerns (among other things) a group of lords known as the Fellowship of The Silver Stallion. And among the items in Cabell's collection at VCU Libraries is a group of horse statuettes with elaborate accompanying labels. These horses create a multi-layered puzzle, connecting Cabell's writings with both mythology and reality, and their naming follows closely the list of legendary horses in the author's well-worn copy of Brewer's A Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

A selection of those figurines with their mythical names is shown below. Clicking on the image will take you to more details of their accompanying labels.