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Stubbs, George, 1724-1806.

Comparative anatomical exposition of the structure of the human body with that of a tiger and a common fowl : manuscript.

London?, ca. [1798?]
Physical Description:
4 volumes ; 26-34 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
QL805.S78 C66 1798+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Related Content:
View catalog records for Stubbs's drawings for the Comparative anatomical exposition (Yale Center for British Art, Department of Prints and Drawings)
View catalog record for the prospectus for the Comparative anatomical exposition
Archives & Manuscripts
"Although the comparison of such disparate creatures might seem idiosyncratic, it in fact reflects eighteenth-century scientific thinking on the shared structure of all living things. Indeed, Stubbs may well have been encouraged in the enterprise by the brothers William and John Hunter, the celebrated anatomists, both of whom commissioned paintings of exotic animals from Stubbs. Ozias Humphry recorded that it was Stubbs's intention to extend his comparative studies to other quadrupeds and birds and even vegetables. At the time of his death in 1806, Stubbs had finished the drawings comparing man, tiger, and fowl and published three of six parts: a total of thirty plates from the intended sixty. He had also written out four volumes of text to accompany the drawings, two in French, indicating that he anticipated a Continental audience for the finished work. According to his common-law wife, Mary Spencer, Stubbs stated in the hour of his death, 'I had indeed hoped to have finished my Comparative Anatomy eer I went, for other things I have no anxiety.'"--George Stubbs in the collection of Paul Mellon.
"After Mary Spencer's death in 1817, the 125 drawings for the Comparative Anatomy and the four volumes of manuscript text were sold. Many of the drawings were mounted on paper-board either by Edward Orme, who published an edition of the completed plates in 1817, or by a subsequent owner, Dr. Thomas Bell, a dental surgeon and anatomist who may have used the drawings as illustrations to his lectures on comparative anatomy. They were eventually acquired by Dr. John Green of Worcester, Massachusetts, who gave them to the Worcester Free Public Library in 1863 ... Paul Mellon purchased them from the library for the Yale Center for British Art in 1980 ..."--George Stubbs in the collection of Paul Mellon.
Bound in later green calf and marbled boards, preserving the contemporary (or earlier) gilt-tooled spines.
George Stubbs in the collection of Paul Mellon, page 94
George Stubbs, 1724-1806 : Tate Gallery, pages 183-184
Anatomical works of George Stubbs, page 111
Koehnline, E.M. Comparative anatomical exposition: an unfinished work by George Stubbs.
Fair copy in the hand of George Stubbs (with his idiosyncratic reversed 'e' throughout) for his uncompleted work, Comparative anatomical exposition of the structure of the human body with that of a tiger and a common fowl. Paper in the volumes is watermarked 1796 and 1798. Two volumes of the manuscript are in English, two in French. Stubbs may have intended to publish a French edition. However, part of the French text does not duplicate the English version, and vice-versa. It may be that the whole work was completed in both languages and some parts were subsequently lost, or that Stubbs was never able to complete the entire work.
The original drawings by Stubbs for the Comparative anatomical exposition are cataloged separately: Department of Prints and Drawings, B1980.1.1-126. See link provided herewith.
Subject Terms:
Anatomy, Artistic.
Anatomy, Comparative.
Chickens -- Anatomy.
Chickens in art.
Tiger -- Anatomy.
Tiger in art.
Bell, Thomas, 1792-1880, former owner.
Green, John, 1783-1865, former owner.
Free Public Library (Worcester, Mass.), former owner.

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