George Stubbs

Horse in the Shade of a Wood

1780

Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 597 x 762 mm
frame: 770 x 940 x 85 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1933
Reference
N04696

Summary

The painting shows a grey stallion in a landscape. The picture would have been commissioned by a patron as a portrait of his horse, although the names of the animal and its owner are now unknown. Stubbs's earlier works usually depicted horses with a groom, jockey or owner, whereas his paintings of the 1780s and 1790s often showed a single animal in a landscape.

Further reading:
Judy Egerton, George Stubbs 1724-1806, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1984, reprinted 1996, pp.20, 103

Terry Riggs
January 1998

Display caption

This composition, showing a grey stallion in a dark wooded landscape, is unusually simple for Stubbs, as it is not enlivened by a luminous landscape or any human presence. The stark contrast between the light horse and the dark background is reminiscent of some of his ‘Horse and Lion’ paintings, when he included a white horse under attack in a cavernous landscape.

Stubbs did not limit himself to one painting method but was continually searching for other media. The technique adopted here is experimental: an unusual mixture of beeswax and pine resin, without any drying oil, on a wooden panel.

Gallery label, September 2004

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