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

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), father-in-law of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, it shows the celebrated thoroughbred being rubbed down after the close match with Mr Joseph Cookson's Diamond at Newmarket on 25 March 1799.

Provenance

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

References

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 (48921)
Materials Oil paint (8292)
Canvas (10037)
Wood (126549)
Category Paintings (12642)
Collection Mount Stewart, County Down (Accredited Museum) (5072)
Periods 18th century (85617)
19th century (167585)
Maker George Stubbs, RA (Liverpool 1724 – London 1806) (29)
Subjects Animals (261)
Object Type Oil painting (12274)

Record Status

Enhanced

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