A Saddled Bay Hunter, 1786
Oil on panel
Signed and dated, 1786
22 3/4 x 19 in. (57.79 x 48.26 cm)
England’s greatest horse painter, George Stubbs first became interested in horses while apprenticing to his father, a leather and hide merchant. Although he began his career as a portraitist in his native Liverpool, Stubbs developed a strong interest in anatomy, both human and equine. He prepared illustrations for a midwifery textbook and, anticipating the major work of his career, dissected and drew dead horses. Settled in London during the 1760s, he published The Anatomy of the Horse. With his knowledge of the horse’s physique he produced startlingly realistic images that soon established him as an animal painter of the first rank. Bay hunters such as the majestic animal portrayed here—with his thick neck, strong body, and short legs—were ideal for traversing rough terrain.
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; Lt. Col. R. Myddleton, Chirk Castle; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Dick; William Oliver and Evalyn Poole Collection; private collection, U.S.; P. Ellis, Petworth, West Sussex, England
See Artist Profile