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Creator:
George Stubbs, 1724–1806, British
Title:

Lustre, held by a Groom

Date:
ca. 1762
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 40 1/8 x 50 inches (101.9 x 127 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Inscribed, lower right: "Lustre"

Signed, lower right: "Geo : Stubbs . Pinx :"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B2001.2.122
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
animal | coat | equestrian | groom | horse (animal) | landscape | livery (uniforms) | rural | sporting art | woods
Access:
Not on view
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:21173
Export:
XML

This is probably the first of at least ten paintings that George Stubbs made for the racing enthusiast Frederick St. John, second Viscount Bolingbroke, profligate heir to a great fortune (another, Turf, with Jockey Up, is shown nearby). Bolingbroke may have commissioned it after becoming familiar with similar pictures of racehorses by Stubbs at Althorp, home to his unloved and unfaithful wife, Lady Diana Spencer. Although of illustrious parentage, Lustre was not a winning racehorse and enjoyed only one successful season in 1760 before Bolingbroke sold him in 1762. Lustre nonetheless inspired this exceptional picture in which a liveried groom leads the horse through a rolling landscape beneath a turbulent sky, the setting perhaps intended for Bolingbroke’s estate at Lydiard Tregoze in Wiltshire. Stubbs had an unrivaled understanding of equine anatomy, having spent eighteen months dissecting horses in the later 1750s—research that led to the publication of his seminal Anatomy of the Horse in 1766.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016



Foaled in 1754, Lustre was a racehorse owned successively by Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster, and Frederick St. John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke, known as "Bully" to his racing cronies. Lord Bolingbroke owned some of the most successful racehorses of the day, including the famous Gimcrack. He and the other "Rockingham Whigs" were Stubbs's most important patrons in the early 1760s, the period in which he was hard at work on the etched plates for his magnum opus, The Anatomy of the Horse (1766). The collective patronage of Bolingbroke and his cronies made Stubbs's name, and gave him the confidence, in June 1763, to buy a leasehold property in London at 24 Somerset Street (adjoining the later Portman Square), where he lived for the rest of his life.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005
Lustre, foaled in 1754, by Blank, was owned first by the Duke of Ancaster and later by Frederick St. John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke, for whom he raced successfully at Newmarket in 1760-1. Known to his friends as "Bully," Bolingbroke was a famous figure in the world of racing, both as an owner and as a gambler. He was one of Stubbs's most important early patrons, and commissioned Lustre and at least seven other racehorse portraits from him. Stubbs breathed life and beauty into the prosaic tradition of British equine portraiture, and his anatomically informed description of a horse's stance and musculature went together with an impeccable feeling for design. There was nothing new about the profile view in portraits of horses, but in Stubbs's hands it took on the order and refinement of classical relief sculpture.

Malcolm Warner

Warner, Malcolm and John Baskett. The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime. New Haven : Yale Center for British Art, 2001, p. 79

[ Advertisement ] : Sotheby's : Important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Pictures [Sale date : 18 November 1970 ], , The Times (London), London, November 10. 1970, p. 22, Available online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML)

[ Advertisement ] : Sotheby's Advertisement for Sale on November 18, 1970 (Important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Pictures), Apollo, November 1970, p. 135, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

[ Front Matter ] : Sotheby's Advertisement for Sale on November 18, 1970 (Important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Pictures), Burlington Magazine, vol. 112,no.812, November 1970, p. xlv, N1 B87 + (YCBA) Available online through JStor.

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 36, fig. 12, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, George Stubbs in the collection of Paul Mellon, a memorial exhibition , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 1999, pp. 17, 22, no. 3, NJ18 St915 G54 1999 (YCBA) Copy 2 is on Mellopn Shelf

Richard Dorment, Beauty of the Beast, George Stubbs' meticulous paintings of horses made him greatest artist-scientist since Leonardo , Calgary Herald, July 9, 2005, p. G8, available online (Orbis)

Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, The Paul Mellon Collection , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, p. 68, no. 68, pl. 25, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, 1724-1806, [exhibition] Tate Gallery. , Tate Publishing, London, 1984, p. 68, no. 40, NJ18 St915 E43 (YCBA) +

Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, painter, catalogue raisonne , Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., London, 2007, pp. 154-5, no. 26, NJ18 St915 A12 E44 2007 + (YCBA)

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 62, ND466 G67 (YCBA)

Chet Hagan, The Paul Mellon collection of sporting art, 1972, pp. 1218-1219, V 0368 (YCBA)

Geraldine Keen, £68,000 for a George Stubbs Horse and Groom, The Times (London), London, Thursday, November 19, 1970, p. 5, Available online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML)

Lustre, British Racehorse, vol. 24, December 1972, front cover, SF338 B75 + (YCBA)

Robert Michael Neuman, Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, Pearson, Boston, 2013, pp. 399, 401, fig. 14.20, N6415.B3 N48 2013 (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, pp. 63, 129, no. 149, fig. 149, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA)

Duncan Robinson, At home to sporting art : the Brick House, Essays of Friends of British Sporting Art, no. 33, The British Sporting Art Trust, Summer 1997, pp. 2, 4, N8250 .B751 (YCBA)

Sotheby's Advertisement for Sale on November 18, 1970 (Important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Pictures, Connoisseur, vol. 175, November 1970, p. 106, N1 C75 + (YCBA) Available online in JSTOR

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Catalogue of Important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Pictures : 18 November 1970., Sotheby's, London, November 18, 1970, pp. 20-21, lot 28, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) Also available ion microfilm : Film B12, reel 160. (YCBA)

Stubbs, an exhibition in honor of Paul Mellon : National Gallery of Art, 4 May-2 June 1985. , National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1985, pp. 2, 8, no. 16, V 0413 (YCBA)

Basil Taylor, Stubbs, Phaidon, London, 1975, p. 214, pl. 118, NJ18 St915 T39 1975 (YCBA) +

Basil Taylor, Stubbs, Phaidon, London, 1971, pl. 118, NJ18 St915 T39 (YCBA) +

Malcolm Warner, Great British paintings from American collections, Holbein to Hockney , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 100-2, no. 21, ND464 W27 2001 (YCBA)

Malcolm Warner, Stubbs & the Horse, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2004, pp.front and 1, 15, 174, no. 34, NJ18 St915 W37 (YCBA)

Malcolm Warner, The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 79, N5247 M385 P28 2001 (YCBA)

Marina Warner, The Analyst: Whether Painting Men or Horses, George Stubbs Knew What Made Them Tick, Connoisseur, v. 215,, March 1985, pp. 132-6, N1 C75 + (YCBA)

John Wilmerding, In honor of Paul Mellon, collector and benefactor, Essays , National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC & Hanover, NH, 1986, p. 27-28, N7442.2 M455 1986 (YCBA)


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