STUBBS, George engraved by George Townly STUBBS
Josiah Wedgwood Esquire
London: Published by George Townly Stubbs, 1795. Stipple with roulette work. State ii/ii, with the title in closed letters and the engraved inscription: "George Stubbs pinxt. *** Geo: Townly Stubbs Sculpt. Engraver to His R.H. the Prince of Wales / JOSIAH WEDGWOOD ESQR. / Done from an original Picture Painted in Enamel as large as Life. / London, Published, Feby. 10, 1795, by Geo Townly Stubbs, No. 86 High Street, Marybone" Sheet size: 12 7/8 x 7 1/2 inches.
A wonderful portrait of the famous potter, Josiah Wedgwood by the master painter George Stubbs.
George Stubbs is considered to be 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 print-making. It was through this ambitious project that Stubbs met Josiah Wedgwood, the celebrated potter. Wedgwood became one of Stubbs' greatest patrons and collaborated with him in the search for a suitable ceramic base for enamel painting. There were apparently two painted versions of the present portrait, one of which appeared in Stubbs' studio sale in 1807. It is believed that this engraving was made after the portrait on enamel which remained in Stubbs's studio.
Lennox-Boyd, George Stubbs, 97, II/II; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits...in the British Museum; Wedgwood, no. 6; Slater, p. 610.