Hambletonian, Rubbing Down

George Stubbs, RA (Liverpool 1724 – London 1806)
National Trust Inventory Number 1220985

Category Paintings
Date 1799 - 1800 (signed and dated) (exh at RA)
Materials Oil on canvas
Measurements 2096 x 3673 mm (82 1/2 x 144 5/8 in)
Place of origin London
Collection Mount Stewart, County Down (Accredited Museum)
On show at Mount Stewart, County Down, Northern Ireland, National Trust

The famous horse painter, George Stubbs, at the age of 75, was commissioned by Hambletonian’s owner, Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, 2nd Bt of Wynward Park in Co. Durham (1771-1813), father-in-law of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, to show the celebrated thoroughbred after the match with Mr Joseph Cookson's Diamond on 25 March 1799. It was run over the Beacon Course at Newmarket and ridden by Frank Buckle and succeeded by a little more than half a neck. Although the seven-year-old horse won its owner 3,000 guineas, Stubbs had to sue Sir Henry for his 300 guinea fee. The twelve foot wide picture deliberately shows the racehorse in the final stages of exhaustion, although without the terrible wounds inflicted, attended by a groom - not the victorious jockey - and a stable boy, being rubbed down and naked without his racing colours of lilac, yellow and black, yet supreme. It is on display at the Irish seat of the Londonderry family at Mount Stewart, County Down.

Summary description

Oil painting on canvas, Hambletonian, Rubbing Down by George Stubbs, RA (Liverpool 1724 – London 1806), signed and dated, lower centre: Geo: Stubbs 1800. A painting of a racehorse in the final stages of exhaustion attended by a groom and stable boy. Commissioned by the owner, Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, father in law of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, showing the celebrated thoroughbred being rubbed down after the match with Mr Joseph Cookson's Diamond at Newmarket in 1799.


Commissioned by Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, 2nd Bt (1771-1813) in 1799; thence by descent to his daughter and only child, Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry (1800-1865) at Londonderry House, London; substituted by Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry, at the auction at Christie's, London, on 9 July 1853, of "a small collection of pictures from Glenarm Castle, Ireland, the residence of the late Edmund Macdonald, Esq.", after the catalogue was printed, for a "modern portrait" of Lady Frances [Anne] Vane (lot 10), Ströhling’s autograph replica of the portrait of her father, and a portrait of herself by Lawrence; bought from this auction by ‘Street’ for £24, apparently on behalf of Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry and hung at Wynward Park, Co. Durham (where the horse was buried); thence by descent, until transferred to the National Trust by Lady Mairi Bury (1921-2009) in 1976.

Credit line

Mount Stewart, The Londonderry Collection (National Trust)

Marks and inscriptions

Lower centre: Geo: Stubbs 1800
Cartouche is hanging below painting on the wall: Hambletonian 1800 Stubbs Pinx (accompanying cartouche)

Makers and roles

George Stubbs, RA (Liverpool 1724 – London 1806), artist


Casement 2007 Anne Casement, The strange sale of pictures from Glenarm: Stubbs’s ‘Hambletonian, rubbing down', The National Trust Annual, 2007, pp.57–61
Egerton 2007 Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, Painter: Catalogue Raisonné, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007

Related items

Place of origin London (48377)
Materials Oil paint (8287)
Canvas (10031)
Wood (126450)
Category Paintings (12631)
Collection Mount Stewart, County Down (Accredited Museum) (5072)
Periods 18th century (85452)
19th century (166882)
Maker George Stubbs, RA (Liverpool 1724 – London 1806) (29)
Subjects Animals (235)
Object Type Oil painting (11982)

Record Status


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