Series Spotlight - George Stubbs' Exotic & Domestic Animals


Born August 25th 1724 in Liverpool, England , George Stubbs is perhaps best known for Whistlejacket, arguably the most famous piece of equine art.  Yet he has a large repertoire of artwork of other horses and many more amazing animals. Equine art, at this time, was considered a sporting art and was mostly looked down upon by critics but Stubbs’ skill and accuracy still enabled him to have regular commissions. This talent was likely due to his interest in anatomy, studying human anatomy under a surgeon in York and later spending eighteen months dissecting horses at his home in Lincolnshire. This expert understanding of anatomy allowed him to publish illustrations in a midwifery textbook and a collection of drawings titled The anatomy of a Horse. 

Although in the 1760s he painted many portraits of horses he also painted many exotic animals, from lions, to monkeys, to falcons. He also painted a kangaroo and a dingo, which he called a Kangouro and a large dog, respectively; the first depiction of any Australian animals in Western art. In fact, Stubbs painted many exotic animals which would have been the first credible depiction that any contemporary Briton had seen so many of his works were wonders to both the public and the scientific community. He moved from the exotic to the domestic, painting portraits of single dogs and hunting packs in the 1770s. Whether sinuous horses, ferocious exotic animals, or sweet domestic pets, Stubbs painted them all poised not posed. He depicted these creatures with such dynamism that he truly captured the unbridled and unpredictable essence of animals, wild or otherwise. 

To see our full George Stubbs collection, please click here.

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