Anna Sewell and Black Beauty: Kindness, sympathy and understanding, for animals and all – #TheWomanAlchemist March #WomenWriters #MonthlyFeature #WomenInspiringWomen and everyone else
Published on March 12, 2023
published on March 12, 2023

The PeopleAlchemist Edit: #theWomanAlchemist #MonthlyFeature #womanofthemonth – Anna Sewell



Hello, and welcome back to the #TheWomanAlchemist monthly feature.

This month I’d like to celebrate the birthday of Anna Sewell, the author of Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse, the first significant animal story in children’s literature.

Anna Sewell was born in Norfolk, England, on 30 March 1820; she got her introduction to writing by helping her mother, a best-selling author, edit her work.

She was disabled from a young age and struggled to walk but could drive a horse-drawn carriage. Sewell spent hours driving her father to and from the station where he left for work, and her love of horses and concern for their humane treatment started from there.

Sewell wrote Black Beauty while confined to the house for the last few years of her life, bedridden and seriously ill. The book was first published in 1877, shortly before her death.




Black Beauty is the fictional autobiography of a gentle highbred horse before the automobile era. The horse first had kind masters but was sold to cruel owners who ill-treated and overworked him. In the end, however, he is sold to a kind owner and recovers from the ill-treatment and exhaustion. 

Black Beauty is the perfect horse—respectful, willing, clever and brave. The novel feels authentic due to Sewell’s careful observation and extensive descriptions of equine behaviour.

Sewell wrote Black Beauty “to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses” —after she read an essay on animals by Horace Bushnell, even though the novel is considered a children’s book.

Her sympathetic portrayal of the difficulty of working with animals led to an extensive outpouring of concern for animal welfare. It was instrumental in abolishing the cruel practice of using a “bearing rein”, a strap used in Victorian England to keep horses’ heads high, painful and damaging to a horse’s neck. Additionally, while candidly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with compassion, sympathy, and respect.

Unlike all the other female writers featured previously, Sewell only ever wrote this one book. So why choose her, you might ask?

Well, firstly, because this particular blog, #TheWomanAlchemist, is about promoting women and, lately, more focus on women’s writers, and she is one.

Secondly, although she wrote one just book, she did write it, despite her circumstances. She followed her passion and her conviction and is an example to anyone who wants to write a book but always finds a million reasons why they can’t.

Finally, let’s not forget that Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books ever, with fifty million copies sold.

I wouldn’t mind that at all for one of my books, would you?





A few of the previous #TheWomanAlchemist blogs celebrating women writers:







Laura Mariani

Laura Mariani

Best Selling Author, Speaker, Change & Transformation Expert


Hi there, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please do provide me with feedback.

I want to hear ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’. If you disagree with me or want to provide a different perspective, leave a comment. Tell me what’s on your mind.

Do remember though to be respectful and kind – we can agree to disagree, no need to be nasty. Thank you.


Laura xxx

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in my posts are ‘affiliate links‘. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, for example as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no extra cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and absolutely would recommend to my readers.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!