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Hidden Treasures 6: George Stubbs' master technique

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We took a look at some of the UK’s rarest paintings made during the 18th century in this episode of our Hidden Treasures series.

Despite his humble background and lack of formal training, George Stubbs born in 1724 established himself as the leading painter of horses and sporting scenes of his time. He later widened his range of subjects to include exotic animals, portraits and dramatic narrative scenes.

Stubbs’s paintings are admired today for their precision and clarity, and for their powerful evocation of English rural life.

He experimented with mixed method engraving techniques and, with the help of his friend Josiah Wedgwood, he painted in enamel colours on Wedgwood ceramic supports.

As the majority of Stubbs’ paintings were commissioned for private collections, and remained in county houses for many years, it was not until the 20th century, when many of his works came to market, that his skill came to greater attention bringing ultimate fame.

In his own time, Stubbs struggled to be recognised as an artist of real status and ambition, but now his pieces of unique art are highly regarded, on display in a dedicated room at the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

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