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George Stubbs
Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

George Stubbs 1781

George Stubbs (1724–1806)

National Portrait Gallery, London

(b Liverpool, 25 Aug. 1724; d London, 10 July 1806). English animal painter and engraver, celebrated as the greatest of all horse painters. He was the son of a leatherworker, and he followed his father's trade until he was about 16. As an artist he was virtually self-taught, although he worked briefly with the painter Hamlet Winstanley (1694–1756). His life up to his mid-thirties (which is poorly documented) was spent mainly in the north of England. Early in his career he seems to have earned his living chiefly as a portraitist, and he also made the illustrations (based on his own dissections) for Dr John Burton's treatise on midwifery (1751); Stubbs had studied anatomy at the County Hospital in York, where Burton was a doctor. In 1754 he visited Rome, then spent eighteen months working in isolation in Lincolnshire, dissecting and drawing horses in preparation for a book on equine anatomy.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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