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Biography of George Stubbs

Portrait of George Stubbs

George Stubbs was an eighteenth century artist particularly famous for his depiction of horses.

When and Where was he born?

24th August 1724, Dale Street, Liverpool, England.

Family Background:

George Stubbs was the son of a prosperous tanner.


Briefly apprenticed to a painter but largely self-taught.

Timeline of George Stubbs:

1739: Stubbs takes his first painting lesson under Harriet Winstanley.

1743: Over the next few years he plies his trade as a portrait painter in Leeds then York, Wigan and Hull. Begins to study anatomy in earnest.

1754: George Stubbs sails to Italy to study painting and then returns to England via Morocco.

1756: Birth of his first son George Townley.

1758: He studies the anatomy of horses in Horkstow in Lincolnshire.

1759: Stubbs moves to London.

1760: He receives his first commission for paintings of horses.

1763: He moves to 24 Somerset Street, Portman Square. He exhibits with the Society of Artists.

Mares and foals in a river landscape. 1768. Tate Gallery
Mares and foals in a river landscape. 1768. Tate Gallery

1773: He is elected as President of the Society of Artists.

1775: Stubbs experiments with enamel painting when he meets Josiah Wedgwood at his Staffordshire pottery factory.

1780: Stubbs becomes an Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Royal Academy
The Royal Academy of Arts in London (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1781: He is elected a full member of the Royal Academy.

1790: Stubbs is commissioned to do a series of portraits of racehorses for the “Turf Review”.

1795: He works on his “Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Structure of the Human Body with that of the Tiger and Common Fowl”, a work which he is never to complete.

1801: Stubbs sues Sir Henry Vane-Tempest for non payment of his bill for the picture of the racehorse Hambletonian, now in Northern Ireland.

When and Where did he Die?

12th July 1806, London, England. The cause of death is unknown but he was in financial difficulties so this would not have helped his health.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1766: “The Anatomy of the Horse”.


Never married but his long time common law wife was Mary Spencer.

Site of Grave:

St. Marylebone “Old ” Parish Church, Marylebone High Street, London, England.

Places of Interest:


Windsor Castle, Windsor.


Ascot racecourse.


Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.


St Osyth Priory.


Berkeley Castle.


The National Gallery.
National Portrait Gallery
Tate Britain.
Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.


City Art Gallery.


Walker art Gallery.
Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Wirral.


Wedgwood Museum, Barlaston, Stoke on Trent.


Goodwood House, Chichester.


Upton House, Banbury.


Temple Newsam House, Leeds.


Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.