'Horsa' - from which we derive the modern word 'horse' - was the semi-mythological leader of the Anglo-Saxons who landed near Ebbsfleet, on the Isle of Thanet in the 6th century and so the white horse became the symbol of Kent.
In ancient times these figures would be made by revealing the underlying chalk.
Wallinger is said to have based his design on a racehorse which he sees as symbolic of British colonial and post-colonial history and looks set to follow a tradition of great British horse artists which includes Munnings and Stubbs
Many people who are unfamiliar with horses call grey horses ‘white’. Most of the famous ‘white’ horses that we think of were in fact greys. For example, Naploeon’s favourite mount, Marengoand the most loved racehorse of recent years, Desert Orchid
Another nominee for the South of England landmark was Christoper Le Brun
Although he was proposing a giant wing design, it is notable that the horse has become his hall-mark in large-scale paintings that contain semi-recognisable features, borrowed from classicism, symbolism, romanticism, and abstract-expressionism, among other sources
Please click here to go through to a lightbox of over 50 images of the mighty beast