National horseracing museum collection

The Anatomy of the Horse

The Anatomy of the Horse

George Stubbs (1724–1806)

The Anatomy of the Horse

London: Printed by J Purser, for the Author, 1766

Loan from: British Sporting Art Trust

Stubbs is celebrated for his majestic equestrian portraits. His ability to create such works was underpinned by an unrivalled knowledge of equine physiognomy.

Stubbs underwent a gruelling period of anatomical study. Renting a barn in Horkstow, Lincolnshire, he devoted 18 months to the dissection of a horse. As he stripped away the layers of muscles, tendons and veins he created detailed anatomical drawings. Published in 1766, the Anatomy of the Horse brought him international renown. This immaculate and intricate study revolutionised sporting art, leading to a new generation of naturalistic equestrian portraiture. The achievement was so great that for over a century this publication was also a principal guide for veterinarians.

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