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Foxhounds in a landscape, 1762. The painting by George Stubbs
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    Gallery Wrap Rolled Canvas

    The artist will add 3 inches (7.5 cm) of extra paint “bleed” to every 4 sides of the canvas. There will still be 1.5 inches (4 cm) of white canvas around all 4 sides of the canvas.

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FRAMING INFORMATION

Foxhounds in a landscape, 1762

As much as the great British painter George Stubbs was undoubtedly most known for his work with equine painting, the depiction of horses was not in any way the horizon of his talent and interests. The remainder of his paintings can be divided into two categories, one containing the many exotic animals brought from other parts of the British Empire overseas at the time, mostly by military officers and explorers, and the other entailing what was probably the other most common pet among the British rich and powerful: hunting dogs.

Relevant about the latter is the close relationship between the use given by humans to both species. Traditionally, how the wealthy British people engaged in recreational hunting involved both animals. Especially bred dogs would be employed to track and chase the quarry. At the same time, a particular category of horse, the hunter, would be ridden after them, with the rider waiting until the animals had done their job to discharge their weapons at the now cornered fox or stag deer.

Presented here in this 1762 oil canvas are two magnificent examples of such animals, especially bred to take part in fox hunting. The breed was made to prioritize an energetic disposition, a great sense of smell, and strong hunting instincts, making them the ideal tool to hunt foxes. Their comparably small frame would make them less than ideal for hunting deer, however, a quarry that bears its particular characteristics to be looked for in a hunting hound.

The five foxhounds present in the composition are set against a background of unique intricacy for the early phase of Stubbs’ work, indicating that either more time was spent on this piece than on other from that time, or that the artist used a previously painted background study and merely placed these animals to make the study into a finished piece, a practice he was not a stranger to. Corroborating with the latter is the fact that the hounds are rendered in an uncommonly sharp fashion, indicating that they might have been added later since Stubbs’ animals usually blend more seamlessly with their background.

Now in possession of private collectors, this exciting piece can be compared to Stubbs’ later work on foxhounds, such as the 1792 piece present in the Tate Museum, to understand better not only the artist’s trajectory but also the changes in the breed at a time when most modern dog breeds were in the process of solidifying themselves.

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Foxhounds in a landscape, 1762

George Stubbs

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