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George Stubbs, 1724–1806, British

A Lion Attacking a Horse

Former Title(s):

Horse Attacked by a Lion

Lion devouring a horse

Lion Attacking a Horse

Oil on canvas
96 x 131 inches (243.8 x 332.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
allegory | animal art | antiques | biting | blood (animal material) | drama | hills | horse (animal) | landscape | lion | lions | mythology | Panthera leo (species) | rocks (landforms) | sculpture | shore (landform) | symbolism | trees
On view in the galleries
IIIF Manifest:

From the early 1760s to the 1790s, George Stubbs returned again and again to the theme of horses stalked and attacked by lions. In his hands, the encounter took on the high drama of a scene from classical mythology, suggesting the struggle of civilization against barbarism. This painting is one of Stubbs’s earliest (and largest) explorations of this subject. It was commissioned by the young Charles Watson-Wentworth, second Marquess of Rockingham, for his London residence at 4 Grosvenor Square. Rockingham was a major figure in the worlds of horse racing and Whig politics and also commissioned the pendant painting of a lion attacking a stag, which Stubbs painted a few years later (shown nearby). Both paintings retain their original frames.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Yale University Art Gallery 2015 - 2016 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-07-27 - 2015-01-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Critique of Reason : Romantic Art, 1760–1860 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-03-06 - 2015-07-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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

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

Stubbs - An Exhibition in Honor of Paul Mellon (National Gallery of Art, 1985-04-11 - 1985-05-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

George Stubbs (1724-1806) Tate Gallery (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-02-13 - 1985-04-07) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

George Stubbs (1724-1806) Tate Gallery (Tate Britain, 1984-10-17 - 1985-01-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

A Great Collection of British Pictures in Virginia, The Times (London), Issue No. 55689, May 1, 1963, pp. 5, 22, Available Online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

Geoffrey Agnew, Yale's 1700 Mellon Pictures, The Times (London), issue no. 59989, Thursday, April 28, 1977, p. 9, Available Online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : Film An T842 (SML) [ORBIS]

Robin Blake, George Stubbs and the wide creation, animals, people and places in the life of George Stubbs, 1724-1806 , Chatto & Windus, London : Chatto & Windus, 2005, 2005, p. 151-52, 178, pl. 18, NJ18.St915 B53 2005 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Phillis Pray Bober, Renaissance artists & antique sculpture, a handbook of sources , Oxford University Press, London, England Oxford, 1986, p. 219, NB85 B63 1986 (YCBA) [YCBA]

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, p. 287, N5220 M552 A7 1977 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Published as April 1977 issue of Apollo; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 105:2 +] [YCBA]

Christie's sale catalogue : Catalogue of pictures by old masters and historical portraits : 11 June 1948, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 11, 1948, p. 7, Lot 57, Fiche B51 (YCBA) [YCBA