The Story of Roman Horses

Updated: Sep 1


From 2010 to 2012, I had the good fortune to live and work in Rome. Part of my ‘recreation’ was: teaching myself water colors - did a couple hundred sketches of horses in fountains, on columns, in museums, out on the streets, in parks, and so on. At the same time, I researched each topic a little and wrote about them. By the time I moved back to California, those notes and sketches had grown into a big folder.


Next step: Creating a manuscript for a book out of them. From the beginning, I envisioned it as a simple artist’s sketchbook: image on one side, text on the other. The text is bi-lingual (but not my Italian). I hired two great professionnals: Susan Luccini from SML Publishing (www.smlpublishing.com) as editor and Carla Lucattini (https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlaofarrell/) as translator. Both are great to work with: their high professional standards never lead them to be impatient with a beginner like me. They were precise and always pleasant to work with. I highly recommend them: Susan as personal historian, Carla as translator and teacher.


Hardly surprising, there were no publishers lining up in front of my door for the manuscript; in fact, I never found any that were looking for this type of book: family- and travel-oriented, original art organized along the lines of Roman history, with a map in the back that invites you to the adventure of finding some of these horses yourself.


To find out if there was an interested in the general public, this Kickstarter campaign helped to raise funds for printing a deluxe hardbound version. You might enjoy a video from this time:



In addition to project updates on Kickstarter, the www.RomanHorses.com website allowed me to share my first self-publishing journey which produces “Roman Horses, Cavalli Romani” in three different versions:

  • The eBook (interactive PDF) is available for $15. (Buy the digital version Now)

  • Softbound copy is on Amazon for $28.50

  • Hardbound deluxe collector's copy only directly from the artist: 4RomanHorses@gmail.com $64 includes sales tax and USPS shipping inside the continental US.

FAQs about these versions focussed on the eBook.

  1. Why Gumroad as a platform? - It had the highest security ratings at that time and to this day, I never had trouble.

  2. How does it work? - After you pay, Gumroad sends a link to your email. With that email, you can download the PDF as often as you need. For example, if you get another phone or computer, you can just download it again at no charge.

  3. What do you mean by ‘interactive map’? - Watch this video and you see it in action.

  4. Are the books still available? - Yes, though the deluxe version is a limited edition of 120 books.

  5. Is your artistic journey finished? Are you happy about your results? - Yes, I’m happy and the journey is NOT finished.


As mentioned, I was back in California and worked full-time as a studio artist. No surprise that when I was invited for a solo exhibition in Kassel, Germany, the Roman Horses theme provided a good starting point for a series of art quilts.


Hadn’t expected to have so much fun, revisiting some of these ideas and creating new works with a lot of tactile values. - Can your fingers resist touching these silks, cottons, felts, ribbons, and yarns?


To share this joyful artistic journey, I created a few videos from inspirations in Italy to water colors, the book "Roman Horses, Cavalli Romani”, and from there to art quilts.

- An Ancient Toy - Un giocattolo antico

- Apollo's Horses - I cavalli di Apollo

- Sea Horses - Gli ippocampi

- Valor - Il coraggio

- Marcus Aurelius, the Man - Marco Aurelio, l'Uomo

In 2017, the videos were used by students and teachers of Chico State University where I presented the inspiration of the rich Italian culture and its connection to the vibrant heritage culture of America. In short, an example of a bi-cultural life and art work.


Where are the art quilts now? - As of writing this blog post in August 2018, most of them are exhibited in The Camelot Gallery, 225 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA 95959. With each art quilt that you buy, you’ll receive a free, signed copy of the deluxe version of "Roman Horses, Cavalli Romani”.

And this isn’t the end of the journey. There are some exciting events ahead, but I won’t talk about them until they are really materializing.

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© 2012 - 2020 by Maria Billings