STUBBS, George engraved by George Townly STUBBS
London: Published by Edward Orme, June 4, 1817. Colour printed stipple with etching. State iii/iii, with engraved inscription: "George Stubbs pinxt. *** Geo: Townly Stubbs sculpt. Engraver to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales./London Republished June 4, 1817 *** MARSKE *** by Edwd. Orme. Bond Street." Sheet size: 8 x 10 inches.
A magnificent portrait of the famous racehorse Marske, by the master equine painter George Stubbs.
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 tuition. 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 on 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 accurate portraits of specific racehorses for proud aristocratic patrons, who wished to highlight their horses' racing success. This practice is expertly exemplified with this magnificent print of the stallion Marske. Marske an impresseive brown stallion was the son of Squirt, and was foaled in 1750. He won the Jockey Club plate at Newmarket in 1754, but was beaten twice in 1756 by Snap. He achieved fame as a stallion, siring Eclipse and a remarkable number of other winners. This beautiful print demonstrates that, with subtle atmospheric effects and complex compositional structure, Stubbs succeeds in raising the genre of equine portraiture to a poetic level.
Lennox-Boyd, George Stubbs 121, iii/iii; Siltzer, The Story of British Sporting Prints p.272.