A Saddled Bay Hunter George Stubbs Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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A Saddled Bay Hunter is oil paint on oak by George Stubbs. It is believed that the painting was commissioned by Arthur Annesley who died in the year 1816.

The painting depicts a horse with cropped ears in accordance with contemporary fashion. The horse in the art is placed in a landscape of dock and mallow that grow in a shade of a clump of beautiful trees on the right-hand side of the painting. A Saddled Bay Hunter features a lake on the left-hand side, a church as well as a village on the far shore. The background in this painting is characteristic of George Stubbs’s landscape during his early years. Most of his early images depict horses and other animals with a groom, owner or jockey, but in his later images, the contents were often shown in solitude.

The primary materials involved in this particular painting include oil on oak. A Saddled Bay Hunter painting conveys the feeling of nobility and grandeur combined with the sense of realism. The unidentified bay horse in the art belongs to Arthur Annesley, the 9th Viscount Valentia. Most of his animal paintings, including the Saddled Bay Hunter, showed the contents in the pictures accompanied by a stable boy, a groom, a jockey and owner. The horse on the painting features cropped ears that rob the animal’s natural dignity. A Saddled Bay Hunter painting reflects the romantic idealism of early painting works, but it is lifted above sentimental by the intense observation and skilful composition that generate the gravitas that marks all of his artistic work.

Just like A Saddled Bay Hunter, most of his paintings incorporate horses into landscapes by utilizing subtle counter-change techniques and tones to integrate the animals with the background. In this painting, George Stubbs contracts the light profiles of the brown horses against the dark cloud to counterbalance the profiles of the chestnut mares against the bright sky.

The tonal exchange in this painting is mirrored in the layout where the available dark forms of trees echo the bright clouds. In most of his pictures, including A Saddled Bay Hunter, George Stubbs is known to paint the horses first and then their backgrounds later. The horses and backgrounds demanded much attention from him, but he executed them with superb skills.