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George Stubbs, 1724–1806, British
Sleeping Leopard
Enamel on Wedgwood biscuit earthenware
Support (PTG): 4 1/4 x 6 5/8 inches (10.8 x 16.8 cm)

Signed and dated in brown paint, lower right: "Geo Stubbs | [...] 1777"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
leopard | oval | plants | rocks (landforms) | sleeping | sporting art
On view
Curatorial Comment:
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Crucially important as the earliest recorded example of Stubbs's work in enamel on earthenware supports that were made and then fired in Josiah Wedgwood's factory, this work predates Stubbs's more ambitious compositions for larger-scale Wedgwood ceramic plaques or "canvases." The position of the Wedgwood stamp, moreover, strongly suggests that the oval plaque was cut with a grinder from the bottom of a Queen's Ware plate and that Stubbs created the present work as an experiment with which to demonstrate (maybe to the manufacturer) the possibility and promise of painting in enamel on Wedgwood earthenware. In the 1770s distinctions among the various species of big cat were still rather vague, and the English word tiger was frequently used as a generic term to describe them all except lions. This is why the present work has plausibly been identified with the reference to a "sleeping tiger" in the artist's posthumous sale of 26 May 1807, despite the unequivocal spots. Paul Mellon loved this little painting and kept it on the desk in his study in the house he kept on East Seventieth Street in New York City
--Angus Trumble,2007-01
Exhibition History:
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George Stubbs (1724-1806) Tate Gallery (Tate Britain, 1984-10-17 - 1985-01-06)

George Stubbs (1724-1806) Tate Gallery (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-02-13 - 1985-04-07)

Stubbs - An Exhibition in Honor of Paul Mellon (National Gallery of Art, 1985-04-11 - 1985-05-04)

George Stubbs in the Collection of Paul Mellon: a Memorial Exhibition (Yale Center for British Art, 1999-04-30 - 1999-09-05)

George Stubbs in the Collection of Paul Mellon: a Memorial Exhibition (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2000-02-14 - 2000-05-15)

The Paul Mellon Bequest : Treasures of a Lifetime (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-02-17 - 2001-04-29)

Paul Mellon - A Cambridge Tribute (The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2007-06-12 - 2007-09-23)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27)

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

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David Alexander, Painters and engraving, the reproductive print from Hogarth to Wilkie , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1980, p. 50, no. 100, NE631.2 A43 (YCBA)

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. 253, no. 26, pl. 26, 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, p. 80, no. 61, NJ18 St915 G54 1999 (YCBA) Copy 2 is on Mellopn Shelf

Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, The Paul Mellon Collection , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 90-91, no. 87, Colour Pl. 15, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, painter, catalogue raisonne , Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., London, 2007, pp. 66-7, 406-8, no. 202, fig. 3, NJ18 St915 A12 E44 2007 + (YCBA)

Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, 1724-1806, [exhibition] Tate Gallery. , Tate Publishing, London, 1984, p. 123, no. 86, NJ18 St915 E43 (YCBA) +

Alex Kidson, Earlier British paintings in the Walker Art Gallery and Sudley House, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 2012, p. 173, fn 1, ND466 .K537 2012 (YCBA)

C. A. Lennox-Boyd, George Stubbs, the complete engraved works , Stipple, Warren Farm House, Culham, Abingdon, OX New York : Distributed b, 1989, NJ18 St915 A12 L45 (YCBA)

Paul Mellon, Reflections in a silver spoon, a memoir , W. Morrow, New York, 1992, p. 281, N5220 M552 1992 (YCBA)

Venetia Morrison, The art of George Stubbs, Wellfleet Press, Seacaucus, N.J., 1989, p. 145, NJ18 St915 M67 1989+ (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. 7, 9, no. 29, V 0413 (YCBA)

Duncan Robinson, Paul Mellon: a Cambridge tribute, , The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge [England], 2007, pp. 26-7, 50, N5220 M552 P36 2007 (YCBA)

Bruce Tattersall, A Sleeping Leopard by George Stubbs, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 118, No.885, December 1976, pp. 848-51, fig. 93, N1 B87 + OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Basil Taylor, Stubbs, Phaidon, London, 1975, uhy, fig. 12, NJ18 St915 T39 1975 (YCBA) +

Malcolm Warner, The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 19, N5247 M385 P28 2001 (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Sleeping Leopard, Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, June 1981, p. 192, J418 C65D (SML)

George Stubbs as a Printmaker, Print Collector's Newsletter, September/October 1982, pp. 113-116, NE1 P76 OVERSIZE (HAAS)

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