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'A Grey Hunter with a Groom and a Greyhound at Crewsell Crags', about 1766

Painting with a grey horse and groom with a greyhound with a rockface in the background

© Tate Britain, London 2006

Visitors to the exhibition 'George Stubbs: A Celebration' were invited to enter a competition to write the label text for this painting.

The winning label text, shown here, was displayed in the exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery for the final month, from 1 to 30 July 2006.

Competition winner

The winning label text is written by Frances Hurst, aged 6, from Tiverton, Cheshire:

"You can tell the groom is less important because the groom is painted with a shadow on his face whereas the animals show more emotion because they’re painted more clearly.

I’d like to know that dog because he looks friendly."

Highly commended

Terry Duffy, Garston:

"I like the intimacy of this scene. We are allowed to witness the meeting of horse and hound - and see that their common connection is through the groom. Stubbs composes the scene in such a way that the line of the groom's arm acts as the link between both animals' heads. There is a serenity to the picture that is emphasised by the relaxed posture of the groom and his disinterested gaze, and the elegance and static form of the horse. The little movement in the scene is in the tilt of both animals' heads, with a slight suggestion of deference on the part of the hound to both horse and groom.

I also like the setting for this picture. Although Stubbs names the location, the landscape takes on a biblical or classical theme with its eastern tones and weeping willow."

Tom Shaw, Clare, Suffolk:

"It's a conversation in the countryside but not a three way one since the groom is listening in. The really intelligent human exchange is between the animals. They are alert to the beauty of nature and anticipating the joy of the chase.

As usual with Stubbs the grey hunter is sensitive and inquisitive, virginal white and eager to communicate. The greyhound leans forward, sniffing, enquiring and keen to make contact. The groom is somewhat nonchalant, arms akimbo patiently eavesdropping. What are they saying?

The composition of line and colour is perfect. The lines of the figures echoed in the more sombre muted browns and greens of Cresswell Crags. You could cut off the right hand side of the painting, but the figures would be withdrawn from their natural landscape.

This painting grew on me the more I studied it. It is not just another of Stubbs's white horses."

Elisabeth Verstehen, aged 5, from Northwich, Cheshire:

"The horse and the dog. The dog found a bone. The horse found an apple. The dog hid the bone under a tree, the horse hid the apple in a bush. The dog went hunting. The horse went to have a drink. The hunter came back, the dog had a biscuit and the horse had a carrot."

Further information about this painting

  • Painted by George Stubbs (1724 - 1806)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 44.5 x 68 cm

This painting is from the collections of Tate Britain, London. Purchased 1895