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George Stubbs

1724 - 1806

Tygers at Play by George Stubbs

Tygers at Play   1780

  Original etching with engraving.
With the artist’s name in the plate.
Ref: Lennox-Boyd, Dixon & Clayton 60 iiia/iiia
S 595 x 647 mm; P 377 x 478 mm; I 348 x 466 mm
Very good, strong impression from the edition of 175 impressions printed from the original plate, in black ink, in 1974.

George Stubbs has long been established as England’s most famous painter of animals. An accomplished original printmaker, lifetime impressions of any of Stubbs’s own plates are now exceptionally rare.

This original etching with engraving by George Stubbs is related to four oil paintings of this title, one of which Stubbs exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1776. At the time of George Stubbs’ engraving, ‘tyger’ was used as a generic term, being applied to all big cats with the exception of the lion. The animals depicted are clearly leopards. This plate was advertised as the specific companion to his A Horse Affrighted by a Lion (Lennox-Boyd 59).

Upon the death of George Stubbs, the plate of Tygers at Play passed to Mary Spencer and was subsequently advertised for sale by Phillips, the auctioneers, in 1817. However, the plate disappeared until 1970, when it was rediscovered with the plate printers Thomas Ross & Son, then based in Putney in south London.

A limited edition of 175 impressions in black ink and a further 60 impressions in brown-black ink was published by Iain Bain for Observer Art in 1974. This impression is one of the 175 impressions printed in black ink on handmade ‘Penshurst’ paper from J. Barcham Green with the John Boydell Press watermark. After this edition had been printed the plate passed into the possession of the Trustees of the Tate Gallery – it is the sole original copper plate by George Stubbs which is known to have survived to the present day.

It is clear that this plate was preserved with great care by Thomas Ross & Son as its excellent condition, apparent from this printing, attests. This final printing of Tygers at Play represents one of the last original printed works by George Stubbs attainable at a price affordable to the average private collector.

Full sheet with wide margins and deckle edges. Very good original condition.