George Stubbs

A Grey Hunter with a Groom and a Greyhound at Creswell Crags


Not on display
George Stubbs 1724–1806
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 445 x 679 mm
frame: 620 x 855 x 110 mm
Purchased 1895


The grey horse in this picture presumably belongs to a nobleman or gentleman. Its stocky build and short legs make it ideally suited to follow the greyhound in pursuit of the hare over the rocky moorland terrain. The man's costume of dark blue coat with red collar and red buttonholes suggests that he is a groom on duty, wearing the livery of a servant of some now unidentified owner. The animals are depicted in typically lively manner, the greyhound's natural curiosity engaging the horse's attention in a sort of animal 'conversation piece'.

The setting is Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border where, it has been suggested, Stubbs witnessed the scene depicted here (Egerton p.103). Stubbs also used Creswell Crags for the background in many of his horse and lion subjects, including the pair which was probably exhibited in 1763, Horse Frightened by a Lion (Tate Gallery T06869) and Horse Devoured by a Lion (Tate Gallery T02058), and in other paintings of the 1760s.

This was the first of Stubbs's paintings to enter a public collection. Bought for the National Gallery in 1895, it was transferred to the Tate Gallery c.1898. In 1955 the National Gallery reclaimed it, but it was re-transferred to the Tate in 1961. A virtually identical replica is in a private collection.

Further reading:
Judy Egerton, George Stubbs 1724-1806, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1984, reprinted 1996, p.103, reproduced in colour

Terry Riggs
December 1997

Display caption

The landscape setting is Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, which Stubbs also used as the background for many of his more dramatic horse and lion subjects. The grey hack here presumably belonged to a nobleman or gentleman. Its stocky build and short legs made it ideally suited for hare coursing, following the greyhound over the rocky moorland.

Between the two animals stands a man dressed in livery, either a groom or hunt servant. The subtle linear rhythms of the horse, groom and greyhound give a sense of movement to the living creatures that is contrasted with the solidity of the looming crags.

Gallery label, September 2004


You might like