STUBBS, George (1724-1806), engraved by George Townly STUBBS
Two Hacks Belonging to Henry U. Reay of Burn Hall in the County of Durham Esq... [and] Two Hunters Belonging to Herny U. Reay of Burn Hall in the County of Durham Esq...
London: Published by George Townly Stubbs, No. 14 John Street Adelphi, 1792. [Two Hacks] Roulette work. A superb colour-printed impression. Second state of two, with the title in closed letters and the engraved inscription:"Painted by George Stubbs.*** Engrav'd by G. Townly Stubbs /TWO***HACKS / Belonging to Henry, U, Reay of BURN HALL in the ***COUNTY of DURHAM Esqr. to whome this Plate is Dedicated by his/much obliged Hble. Sert. / G. Townly Stubbs. /London. Pubd. Jany. 1792 by G.T. Stubbs No. 14 Iohn Street Adelphi". Image size: 13 5/16 x 18 1/2 inches. Plate mark: 15 15/16 x 19 13/16 inches. [Two Hunters] Roulette work. A superb colour-printed impression. Second state of two, with the title in closed letters and the engraved inscription: "Painted by George Stubbs.*** Engraved by G. Townly Stubbs /TWO***HUNTERS / belonging to Henry, U, Reay of BURN HALL in the ***COUNTY of DURHAM Esqr. to whom this Plate is Dedicated by his / much Oblig'd Hble. Sert. / Geo. Townly Stubbs. /London. Pubd. Jany. 1792 by GeoTownly Stubbs No. 14 John Street Adelphi"
George Stubbs is considered one of the greatest English painters. His ingenious animal and sporting pictures remain unrivalled in their passionate depiction of emotion and their commitment to naturalistic observation. Stubbs was briefly apprenticed to the painter Hamlet Winstanley, a relationship that quickly ended, leaving the young artist to his own education. In contrast to contemporary academic theory, Stubbs attached great importance to the belief that art should imitate nature, not the work of other artists. He spent years carefully studying human and equine anatomy so that he could truthfully represent natural form and movement. A result of this study was his famous Anatomy of the Horse , which details, with beautiful engraving, the various elements of a horse's anatomy, from skeletal form to muscular definition. By the 1760's, Stubbs had developed a considerable reputation as a sporting artist and had attracted a number of distinguished patrons. Continuing in search of innovation, Stubbs began experimenting with a myriad of different mediums, becoming accomplished in both enamels and printmaking. Through arduous application, he became a talented mezzotint engraver and worked with ease in both soft ground, and etching techniques. Stubbs' masterful paintings inspired some of the greatest engravers of the day to reproduce his work for publication, including his own son George Townly Stubbs who reproduced with faithful accuracy the sublime emotion inherent in his father's exquisite works. Stubbs was elected director of the Society of Artists and a Royal Academician, and today his prized paintings are housed in some of the finest museums in the world.
Stubbs was often commissioned to paint equine portraits for proud aristocratic patrons, who wished to highlight their steed's talent and beauty. This practice is expertly exemplified in this exquisite pair of prints commissioned by the wealthy landowner Henry Utrick Reay. The paintings, which were completed by Stubbs in 1789, were later expertly engraved by George Townly Stubbs, who reproduced his father's stunning images with uncommon skill. They are now extremely rare, particularly as a pair.
Lennox-Boyd, George Stubbs; The Complete Engraved Works 94, 95 ii/ii; Gilbey, Life of George Stubbs no. 23 & no. 67; Siltzer, The Story of British Sporting Prints p.270; Slater, Engravings and their Value p. 610; Snelgrove, British Sporting and Animal Prints 1658-1874 no. 2.