George Stubbs

A Foxhound

published 1788

Medium
Engraving on paper
Dimensions
Image: 92 x 115 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Transferred from the British Museum 1983
Reference
T03780

Display caption

Stubbs issued twelve prints in May 1788, of which three were of single foxhounds, with another showing a pair of hounds on the scent. All the dogs had appeared earlier in Stubbs’s painting of The 3rd Duke of Richmond with the Charlton Hunt, about 1759.

The immediate models for this dog and that viewed from behind, shown above, were probably pencil drawings, perhaps studies made in connection with the oil. Despite the close links between the two foxhound subjects here, Stubbs adopted slightly different printmaking techniques for each.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T03780 A FOXHOUND published 1788

Engraving, mixed method, 3 9/16 × 4 1/2 (92 × 115) on hand-made thick-textured paper 6 5/8 × 8 1/8 (169 × 206); plate-mark 4 1/8 × 15/16 (105 × 127)
Writing-engraving below image ‘Publish'd by Geo Stubbs 1 May 1788’; on the back, stamped twice by the British Museum (i) on accession, with no. 1865-1-14-921; (ii) on transfer, like T 03778
Transferred by the Trustees of the British Museum 1983
Prov: ...; purchased by the British Museum from Mr Daniell (see T03778) 1865; transferred to the Tate as a duplicate 1983
Lit: Basil Taylor, The Prints of George Stubbs, 1969, no.12, repr. p.41 from another impression; Richard Godfrey, ‘George Stubbs as a Printmaker’, Print Collector's Newsletter, XIII, no.4, 1982, p.115

This is one of four prints of foxhounds made by Stubbs; the others are ‘A Foxhound Viewed from Behind’ (Taylor 11, of which T03781 below is an impression), ‘A Foxhound on the Scent’ (Taylor 10, repr. p.39) and ‘Two Foxhounds in a Landscape’ (Taylor 13, repr. p.43). These were advertised in Stubbs's print prospectus (see T03778) as ‘Three Prints of Single Dogs’, price 1s. 6d. each, and ‘two Dogs’, price 2s. 6d.

Godfrey includes the foxhound prints among prints which reveal ‘the full richness of his [Stubbs's] mature technique’ and notes that in them ‘Stubbs seems to have made original and delightful use of soft-ground etching’.

Each of the foxhound prints is related (in reverse direction) to portraits of individual hounds which occur among the pack of foxhounds in Stubbs's large canvas ‘The 3rd Duke of Richmond with the Charlton Hunt’, one of three large canvases painted for the Duke c. 1759–60, and still at Goodwood House (repr. Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, 1984, p.52). For ‘A Foxhound on the Scent’ a highly sensitive and finished pencil study survives (Paul Mellon Collection, Upperville, Virginia, repr. Taylor p.39, beside the print); Taylor notes this as ‘the only specific evidence to support a belief that the prints were based upon drawings even in those cases in which there was also a painted version’.

More uncertainly related is a group of small studies of details from the Goodwood hunting picture painted (in the same direction, ? by Stubbs) in oil on paper which is then stuck down to make a small picture to which a generalized landscape setting is added; examples of these include ‘Huntsman with a Grey Hunter and two Foxhounds’ (a group which includes the ‘Foxhound Viewed from Behind’, Paul Mellon Collection, Upperville, Virginia, repr. Basil Taylor, Stubbs, 1971, pl.9) and two small pictures of foxhounds, one the subject of T03781, the other the ‘Foxhound on the Scent’ (sold Sotheby's 12 March 1985, lots 114–15, repr., bt Spink).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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