Henry BIRCHE after George Stubbs
The Gamekeepers [&] The Labourers
26¼ x 16 inches
Pair of colour-printed mezzotints by Birche after Stubbs, published in London, 1790 by B.B. Evans
A pair of fine mezzotints portraying the servants of Lord Torrington, probably engraved by Richard Earlom under the pseudonym of Birche. George Stubbs (1724-1806) is one of the foremost equestrian artists of his generation. Initially he studied anatomy at York then travelled briefly to Italy and returned to England where he spent his time divided between Lincolnshire and London. By 1766 he had produced his famous work, the Anatomy of the Horse and this helped to cement his reputation as a leading equestrian artist. The aristocracy commissioned him to paint their racehorses and his reputation grew. His animal paintings are more than mere records, however, as each study is an elegant and dignified composition. He is without doubt best remembered for his horses but Stubbs also produced a series of genre paintings of rural life and the Labourers is a very fine example of this work. By the 1760s Stubbs was living off Portman Square and was able to command 100 guineas for each horse study at a time when his friend Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote in a letter to him: “My price for a head is 35 guineas; as far as the knees, 70 guineas; and for a whole length, 150 guineas.”
Ref: Lennox-Boyd: George Stubbs, 86 & 87.
£2400Titles trimmed, 'Gamekeeper' trimmed just within image at top.