T03779 LABOURERS published 1789
Engraving, mixed method, image and plate 20 7/8 × 27 7/8 (530 × 707) on hand-made wove paper closely trimmed to plate-mark (lower right edge cut within image) Writing-engraving within image bottom centre ‘LABOURERS. | Painted, Engraved & Published by Geo. Stubbs, 1 Jany. 1789, No. 24, Somerset Street, Portman Sq. London.’; on the back, stamped twice by the British Museum (i) on accession, with no. 1865-1-14-905; (ii) on transfer, like T03778
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.15, repr. p.47 from another impression; Richard Godfrey, ‘George Stubbs as a Printmaker’, Print Collector's Newsetter, XIII, no.4, 1982, p.116; Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, 1984, p.47
Probably engraved after the oil painting of 1779 (National Trust, Upton House, Lord Bearsted Collection), in reverse direction, centering the group of labourers, cart and dog and omitting part of the background, including the view of the lodge and park at Southill. In Stubbs's print prospectus of 1788 (see T03778), ‘Labourers’ was advertised as a companion to ‘Farmer's Wife and Raven’, price £1.6s.od. each.
Godfrey draws attention to ‘one small but significant detail, indicative of his [Stubbs's] concern with the smallest facet of his prints: even the inscription spaces, planted at the center base of the designs, contribute to their careful balance, and indeed in the “Labourers” ... the inscription block takes on a physical role as a support for a brick that presses down its corner’.
An engraving of the subject by Amos Green, published in 1790, was made from Stubbs's first painted version of 1767, commissioned by Lord Torrington and in his sale in 1778 (now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art), after Amos Green had substantially repainted the background, depicting a generalized woodland scene in place of the lodge and park at Southill.
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986