This is one of at least ten compositions of brood mares and foals nearly all dating from the 1760s. Stubbs's remarkable ability in painting horses was the result of laborious study and anatomical dissections, performed in a remote Lincolnshire farmhouse. His observations were published in The Anatomy of the Horse in 1766.
Although his scientific researches enabled him to paint the horses here with convincing naturalism, this group is in fact a carefully constructed rhythmic design. Remarkably, this satisfying unity of composition was achieved by completing the horses first and then filling in the imaginary landscape around them.