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George Stubbs, 1724–1806
A Lion Attacking a Stag
Former Title(s):

Lion devouring a stag

Lion Slaying a Buck

Lion Killing a Stag
between 1765 and 1766
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
96 × 131 inches (243.8 × 332.7 cm), Frame: 116 × 143 7/8 inches (294.6 × 365.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
animal art | claws | dark | deer | hunting | lion | stag
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Like its companion A Lion Attacking a Horse (shown nearby), this painting was commissioned by Charles WatsonWentworth, second Marquess of Rockingham, to hang in the Green Room of his London residence in Grosvenor Square. The monumental scale of both works effectively elevated animal painting to the status of history painting, the highest genre of academic art. In addition, by taking on the themes of a lion devouring a horse and a lion attacking a stag, Stubbs was consciously participating in an artistic tradition dating back millennia. The frieze-like arrangement of the animals in A Lion Attacking a Stag recalls especially the art of classical antiquity, particularly ancient coinage where the motif of a lion preying on a stag was often used to symbolize a ruler’s power. Both paintings retain their original frames.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

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] [Exhibition Description]

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]

Sir Geoffrey Agnew, Yale's 1700 Mellon Pictures, The Times (London), , April 28, 1977, p. 9, Times Digital Archive [ORBIS]

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, April 1977, p. 287, N1 .A54 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

H. F. Constantine, Lord Rockingham and Stubbs: Some New Documents, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 95, No. 604, July 1953, p. 237, N1 B87+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, A Selective Promenade, Apollo, v.105, April 1977, p. 287, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 216-217, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, George Stubbs in the collection of Paul Mellon : A memorial exhibition, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1999, p. 35, no. 16, NJ18 St915 G54 1999 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Frederick J. Cummings, Catalogue of the exhibition : Romantic art in Britain : Painting and drawings, 1760-1860, Detroit and Philadelphia, 1968, pp. 51-53, N6766 C8 + oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867 : A Catalogue : The Paul Mellon Collection, , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 75-77, no. 75, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, 1724-1806, [exhibition] Tate Gallery. , Tate Publishing, London, 1984, p. 93, no. 61, NJ18 St915 E43 (YCBA) + [YCBA]

Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, painter : catalogue raisonne, , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. 293-3, no. 111, NJ18 St915 A12 +E44 2007 (YCBA) [YCBA]

English sporting paintings, Autumn exhibition 1960 ... Frank Partridge & Sons Ltd. ... November 1st-December 3rd. , Frank Partridge & Sons, Ltd., London, 1960, no. 61, DealerCat Partridge Fine Arts, Ltd. (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Fletcher, Deer in British sporting art, Essays of Friends of British Sporting Art, no. 60, The British Sporting Art Trust, London, 2013, pp. 3, 5,6, fig 10, N8250 .B571 60 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Douglas Fordham, George Stubbs Zoon Politikon, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 33, no. 1, 2010, pp. 4, 16, figs. 1, 9, N1 O83 + Oversize (HAAS) Also available online (Orbis). [ORBIS]

Walter Gilbey, Life of George Stubbs, R.A., Vinton, London, 1898, p. 169, no. 6, NJ18 St915 G55 (HAAS) [ORBIS]

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

Ozias Humphry, Ozias Humphry manuscript memoir of George Stubbs, Picton Collection, Liverpool Record Office, 1875, p. 24, Film B168 (YCBA) [YCBA]

National Gallery of British Sports and Pastimes, list of sports and pastimes : the first 600 selected pictures : there are 3,000 and more paintings, coloured prints, etc., which will be exhibited from time to time. , National Gallery of British Sports and Pastimes, London, 1950, no. 339, N8250 L65 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Constance-Anne Parker, Mr. Stubbs, the Horse Painter, J. A. Allen, London, 1971, pp. 65,72,81, NJ18 St915 +P37 Oversize (YCBA) [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 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Alex Potts, Natural Order and the Call of the Wild: The Politics of Animal Picturing, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 13, 1990, p. 31, fn 8, N1 O83 + (HAAS) Also Available on line in JSTOR and Oxford University Press Journal data bases. [ORBIS]

Society of Artists of Great Britain, A catalogue of the pictures, sculptures, designs in architecture, models, drawings, prints, etc. exhibited by the Society of Artists of Great Britain at the Great Room, Spring Garden, Charing Cross, April the twenty-first, 1766. . ., William Bunce, London, UK, April 21 1766, p. 12, no. 164, N5055 .S6 C3 (RARE BOOKS, YCBA) [ORBIS]

Society of Artists of Great Britain, A critical review of the pictures, sculptures, designs in architecture, drawings, prints, etc., exhibited at the great room in Spring Gardens, Charing Cross. , R. Dymott, London, UK, 1766, pp. 13-14, no. 164, N5055 S6 C3 1760A (RARE BOOKS, YCBA) unable to locate Online in 18th Century Collections Online - Gale or in Short Tttle Catalogue data base [ORBIS]

Society of Artists of Great Britain, The exhibition : or a candid display of the genius and merits of the several masters whose works are now offered to the public at Spring Gardens / by an impartial hand, London, 1766, p. 9, N6055 S6 C3 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Walter Shaw Sparrow, George Stubbs as a Painter of Big Game, Connoisseur, v. 96, no. 408, August 1935, pp. 63, 67, N1 C75+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

Basil Taylor, George Stubbs: The lion and horse theme, The Lion and Horse Theme , Burlington Magazine, Vol. 107, No.743, February 1965, pp. 81-87, fig. 36, N1 B87+ (YCBA) Available online on JSTOR [YCBA]

The works of James Barry, Esq. Historical painter, ... Containing his correspondence from France and Italy with Mr. Burke - His lectures on painting delivered at the Royal Academy - Observations on differnt works of art in Italy and France - Critical remarks on the principal paintings of the Orleans Galle , John M'Creery, London, 1809, pp. 256-6, N7445.2 B27 (YCBA) + [YCBA]

Horace Walpole, Notes by Horace Walpole, fourth Earl of Oxford, on the exhibitions of the Society of Artists and the Free Society of Artists, 1760-1791, Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 27, Oxford, 1912, pp. 55-88, N5055 S6 C31 1939A [ORBIS]

Malcolm Warner, George Stubbs, his patrons and collectors , Magazine Antiques, vol. 166, no. 6, December 2004, p. 68, V 1629 (YCBA) Available Online (Orbis). [YCBA]

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