This print was based on an oil painting belonging to Earl Fitzwilliam, one of four versions of the subject. Unlike his later, more tonal printmaking methods, the print here has been executed using etching and some engraving. These linear techniques were not quite as successful in capturing the soft coats of the playful animals.
The print was published by Stubbs in 1780 with the title Tygers at Play. ‘Tyger’ was then a generic term to describe any big cat other than a lion, although there was clearly no confusion in Stubbs’s mind between the different species.