George Stubbs gained renown in the 18th Century by masterfully understanding of the horse. He could perhaps be considered the most important sporting artist of all time. He analysed the anatomy, muscle structure and movement of horses in order to create equestrian pictures unlike any other from his time. His extensive travels, including to Italy to study the work of Renaissance Masters contributed to his knowledge. He also had what he called his ‘equine pathological laboratory’, with dead horses suspended from the ceiling for dissection, for further research.
He published The Anatomy of the Horse in 1766 which changed the world of equestrian art forever, emphasising the importance of precise anatomical detail in painting.
Further to his contributions to academia, Stubbs’s enormous talents got him commissions for a series of classic pictures for great patrons, mainly featuring relaxed friezes of mares and foals, hunters at grass and thoroughbreds out in the paddocks with their jockeys or stable lads.
Stubbs died in 1806, classified both then and now as one of the greatest English painters of his age.