Hambletonian, Rubbing Down

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

Category Art / Oil 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

Stubbs painted this celebrated thoroughbred after a close race at Newmarket in 1799. Hambletonian’s owner won 3,000 guineas. But the 75-year old artist had to sue for his 300 guinea fee. The twelve-foot-wide picture deliberately shows the racehorse in the final stages of exhaustion, though without the terrible wounds inflicted. Naked – only attended by groom and rubbed down by stable boy - yet supreme.

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, 2nd Bt (1771-1813) whose only child and daughter was later married to the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, it shows the celebrated thoroughbred, Hambletonian (1792 - 1818) being rubbed down after the close match with Mr Joseph Cookson's Diamond at Newmarket on 25 March 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 Wynyard 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 (53591)
Materials Oil paint (8601)
Canvas (10115)
Wood (128433)
Category Art / Oil paintings (12632)
Collection Mount Stewart, County Down (Accredited Museum) (5077)
Periods 18th century (87812)
19th century (173945)
Maker George Stubbs, RA (Liverpool 1724 – London 1806) (29)
Subjects Animals (641)
Object Type Oil painting (14421)

Record Status


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