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Godolphin Arabian
London: Published by Edward Orme, June 4, 1817. Colour printed stipple with etching. State iii/iii. In good condition with the exception of being trimmed to the image and remargined. 9 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches. A splendid portrait of 'The Father of the Turf', Godolphin 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 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. This striking portrait of the elegant Arabian Godolphin, was presented to subscribers as a frontispiece to Review of the Turf, and consequently was only engraved in the small size. Godolphin is one of only two subjects in the publication for which the description survives (the other is Anvil). In Stubb's catalogue Godolphin was described as the "Father of the Turf," the entry continues and states that "those who are conversant in pedigree will allow, that no stallion, before or since his time, has contributed so much to the improvement of the breed of horses in this country" (Lennox- Boyd). Lennox-Boyd, George Stubbs, 99; Gilbey, Life of George Stubbs, no.38; Slater, Engravings and their Value, p.610; Siltzer, The Story of British Sporting Prints, p. 272.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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