<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

 
Creator:
James Ward, 1769–1859, British
Title:

Eagle, a Celebrated Stallion

Former Title(s):

Eagle, a stallion

Portrait of Eagle

Eagle, a Stallion

Date:
1809
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 35 3/4 x 48 inches (90.8 x 121.9 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Signed and dated, lower left: "[monogram] 1809"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1981.25.655
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
animal art | clouds | fence | flowers (plants) | hills | horses (animals) | landscape | pasture | rocks (landforms) | sporting art
Access:
On view
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:68
Export:
XML

At the height of his long career James Ward was known as the “Mammoth of animal painters,” although he is remembered as a major force in the British Romantic tradition for his subject pictures and landscapes as well. In 1807 Ward began to paint pictures of thoroughbred horses, animals who had been carefully bred to achieve maximum speed on the racecourse. Eagle is one the finest of these portraits of thoroughbreds, and it exhibits Ward’s remarkable ability to create an accurate physical portrayal of a particular animal. At the same time he evokes a transcendent Romantic type—suggesting the latent power of the a barely tamed creature, full of drive, dash, and tension, whose swollen veins and flared nostrils to some extent conjure up the elemental forces of nature itself.

Gallery label for An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)
“Eagle, A Celebrated Stallion” is one of the finest of Ward’s portraits of thoroughbred racehorses and exhibits his remarkable ability to create an accurate physical portrait of a particular animal. At the same time, he evokes a transcendent Romantic type—suggesting the latent power of a barely tamed creature, full of drive, dash, and tension, whose swollen veins and flaring nostrils to some extent conjure up the elemental forces of nature itself.

Having dwelled for years in the shadow cast by the great equine painters, George Stubbs and his contemporary, the slightly younger Sawrey Gilpin, Ward was obviously aware that his portraits of horses would inevitably be compared with theirs. It was not until 1809, shortly after Stubbs and Gilpin had died, that Ward felt comfortable venturing into the subgenre, his mastery of which is demonstrated in “Eagle”.

Eagle and Ward’s other great racehorse paintings differ from Stubbs's in that the essential ingredient of human control—jockeys, grooms, attendants, owners, which to some extent defined the very purpose of the thoroughbred—is conspicuously absent. Neither is there much evidence of the mounting yard, finishing post, or rubbing-down house. Instead, the noble creature exists on its own, standing in a landscape that is laden with potential drama.

Eagle, celebrated for his strength and speed, was a prize-winning bay colt by Volunteer out of a mare by High Flyer and a descendant of Old Partner. He was eventually exported to Virginia, where he influenced the development of American bloodstock. Eagle’s owner, Thomas Hornby Morland, used an engraving after Ward’s portrait as the frontispiece for his influential treatise “The Genealogy of the English Race Horse” (1810).

Angus Trumble

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. 281, no. 84, pl. 84, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Art on the line : the Royal Academy exhibitions at Somerset House, 1780-1836 : [catalogue of works], , The Courtauld Gallery, London, 2001, no. 129, V 0909 (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. 281, no. 84, pl. 84, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

John Baskett, The horse in art, Little Brown, Boston, 1980, p. 126, Folio AN 51 (YCBA)

John Baskett, The horse in art, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 2006, p. 138b, N7668 H6 B37 2006 (YCBA)

Oliver Beckett, The life and work of James Ward, R.A., 1769-1859, the forgotten genius , Book Guild, Lewes (England), 1995, pp. 64,71,93,102-03, 194, no. 133, NJ18 W21 B42 1995 (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 234, 235, N590.2

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 234, 235, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Diana Donald, Picturing animals in Britain, 1750-1850, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007, p. 209, no. 194, N7660 D67 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, The Paul Mellon Collection , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 212-14, no. 226, pl. 76, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

English Animal and Sporting Pictures in the Mellon Collection, Apollo, vol. 77,ns#14, April 1963, p. 286, fig,. 7, N1 A54 + (YCBA) Another Copy also available in Vertical File: V1168

John Fairley, Great racehorses in art, Phaidon, Oxford [Oxfordshire], 1984, pp. 76-77, N7668 H6 F35 (YCBA)

C. Reginald Grundy, James Ward R.A., his life and works, with a catalogue of his engravings and pictures , Otto limited, London, 1909, p. 45, No. 386, NJ18 W21 G7+ OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Venetia Morrison, The art of George Stubbs, Wellfleet Press, Seacaucus, N.J., 1989, p. 183, NJ18 St915 M67 1989+ (YCBA)

Edward John Nygren, James Ward, RA (1769-1859) : Papers and Patrons, Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 75, 2013, pp. 285-86, 287, no. 166, Pl. XIII, N12 W35 +A1Oversize (YCBA)

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 80 (v.1), no. 286, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA)

Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon. , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 185 (v.1), no. 354, pl. 198, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (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)

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. 62, 129, no. 148, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA)

Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition Catalogue. 1810. 42d., Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, no. 42, B. McMillan, London, 1810, p.12, no. 211, N5054 A43 v. 2 (YCBA)

David H. Solkin, Art on the Line : the Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836, , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2001, Foldout No. 82, N5054 A78 2001B (YCBA)

Sporting Subjects in the Exhibition of the Royal Academy, 1810, The Sporting Magazine, vol. 36, no. 212, May 1810, p. 61, Sporting 2090 (YCBA Rare Books)

Stella A. Walker, Sporting art : England 1700-1900, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., New York, 1972, p. 78, pl. 30, N8250 W35 (YCBA) +

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965. , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 56 ( v.1), no. 211, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)


If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.