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George Stubbs: A Celebration

A white horse rears away from a lion

7 April 2006 - 30 July 2006

2006 marked the bi-centenary of the death of George Stubbs, Liverpool's most famous artist. The son of a currier who lived in Ormond Street, a stone's throw from Liverpool Town Hall, Stubbs was intimately acquainted with horses from his earliest days. He was to achieve fame throughout Europe for his publication 'The Anatomy of the Horse' (1766), a study of the equine skeleton and muscles on which he laboured for nearly ten years.

As well as being an anatomist, a draughtsman and a printmaker, Stubbs was also a great painter. Although his contemporaries pigeon-holed him as a portraitist of horses, Stubbs himself regretted this.

He sought to elevate his pictures through their subject-matter and by employing obvious classical design principles. He was a superb landscape artist, and the backgrounds of his works add enormously to their feeling and poetry.

This exhibition aimed to reflect the whole range of his paintings, in which people and other animals feature almost as much as horses.

Label writing competition

Stubbs occupies a special place in the heart of many Liverpudlians, and to reflect this we asked a cross section of people connected with Liverpool, young and old, famous and unknown, to say what they felt about the pictures in the exhibition labels that were displayed at the Walker. You can read some of these labels in the exhibition website.

During the exhibition we asked visitors to contribute their own labels for the remaining paintings, through workshops and a label writing competition (please note that the competition closed on 4 June 2006).

The winning labels from the competition were displayed in the exhibition from 1 to 30 July 2006. You can read them plus some of the highly commended entries by runners up on this website.

Gallery of works

Have a look at some of the works of art from each of the sections of the exhibition using the links below.


More to do online

The exhibition has now closed but you can still do the following activities on this website:

Further information

Read more about George Stubbs and his paintings in National Museums Liverpool's collections in our online featured artist section.

This exhibition was organised by the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool; Tate Britain, London and the Frick Collection, New York.

Sponsored by Halliwells


The views expressed in the labels accompanying this exhibition are those of the people credited on the labels and are not those of National Museums Liverpool.