The painting above depicts Elisabeth of Austria a.k.a. Sissi taking a stile in style, sidesaddle (à la Auntie Mame). If you’re quick you can put a bid on it; the painting is included in a fine art auction in Cambridge today and tomorrow. It’s not to be confused with another equestrian portrait of the empress, which was found hidden in an Irish kennel.
Sissi was renowned as one of the best horsewomen of her age, bringing to hunting and riding the manic energy and singlemindedness she brought to all her passions. She would drive her mount faster and faster, often leaving other members of her party thrown and wounded in their attempts to keep up. The empress, who courted oblivion as if it were a reluctant paramour, called one of her horses “Nihilist”.
Below, other depictions of Sissi on horseback.