George Stubbs was born in 1724 in Liverpool, England and is perhaps the most important sporting artist of all time. Stubbs made his name through his remarkable capacity to portray the anatomy, muscle structure and movement of the horse. He acquired this talent after extensive travels to study the work of Renaissance Masters in Italy and his own learned researches in what he called his ‘equine pathological laboratory’, where dead horses were suspended from the ceiling for dissection.
The result of his labours was perhaps the greatest book in racing literature, The Anatomy of the Horse, which was published in 1766 and which changed the world of equestrian art for ever with its emphasis on precise anatomical detail. Stubbs’s enormous talents were soon recognised and he began a series of classic pictures for great patrons, mainly featuring relaxed friezes of mares and foals, hunters at grass and thoroughbreds out in the paddocks with their jockeys or stable lads.
Stubbs died in 1806, classified both then and now as one of the greatest English painters of his age.