Past Events

George Stubbs: ‘all done from Nature’


  • 17 January 2020
  • 10:00 – 6:00 pm
  • MK Gallery

This conference explores the artistic achievement and legacy of George Stubbs in the context of the major monographic exhibition at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes. The exhibition presents the first significant overview of Stubbs’s work in Britain for more than thirty years and brings together over eighty paintings, drawings and publications, from the National Gallery’s iconic Whistlejacket to pieces that have never been seen in public.

A major theme of the exhibition is anatomy. The show includes forensic drawings by Stubbs of humans, horses, tigers and hens at different stages of dissection. This greatest coming together of art and science in British art is set alongside the actual skeleton of the legendary racehorse Eclipse, which Stubbs depicted on several occasions.

Through a series of twenty-minute presentations, followed by audience questions and discussion, invited speakers will address subjects and themes relevant to the exhibition, including anatomy, extinction, animal studies, sporting art, patronage and breeding, empire and discovery. The day is intended to facilitate, with close reference to George Stubbs, creative dialogues between the historic and the contemporary, experience and theory, art and politics, and across and between disciplines.

Co-organised by the Paul Mellon Centre & MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

Conference Programme

10.00–11.00: Stubbs exhibition viewing

11.00–11.30: Registration open and coffee served

11.30–11.45: Welcome by Anthony Spira (Director, MK Gallery)

11.45–13.15: Session One – Chaired by Martin Postle (Paul Mellon Centre)

11.45–12.05: Alison Wright (Royal Holloway, University of London), ‘Everyone but Stubbs: re–examining the field of Georgian animal painting’

12.05–12.25: Helen McCormack (Glasgow School of Art), ‘Animalia, autopsia, Natura: George Stubbs's The Moose (1770)’

12.25–12.45: Marcus Coates (artist) ‘Comparative anatomies’

12.45–13.15: Q&A/discussion

13.15–14.15: Lunch (not provided)

14.15–15.45: Session Two – Chaired by Lea van der Vinde (Mauritshuis)

14.15–14.35: Anthony Mould (art dealer), ‘George Stubbs and portraiture; the "lacuna" years from c.1744 to c.1758’

14.35–14.55: Oliver Cox (University of Oxford), ‘The Anatomy of a Sporting Art Collection: The Many Lives of Stubbs's Lord Torrington's Hunt Servants setting out from Southill (c.1767)’

14.55–15.15: David Pullins (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), ‘Stubbs’s figures and grounds, invitations to collaborative painting’

15.15–15.45: Q&A/discussion

15.45–16.15: Comfort break

16.15–16.30:Poetry readings by Roger Robinson (writer), ‘’Stubbs’s Whistlejacket’, ‘Hambletonian, Rubbing Down’

16.30–17.00: Final discussion & closing remarks

17.00–18.00: Drinks reception

Tickets should be purchased through the MK Gallery website