This blunt, even slightly wooden, portrait of a prosperous-looking townsman is Stubbs’s earliest securely-dated painting. Liverpool’s greatest native artist is best known as a painter of animals but began his career as a portraitist. He left Liverpool at the age of 17 and worked in a number of northern towns, returning home occasionally before settling in London at the age of about 35. This work is thought to have been painted on a visit to Liverpool in 1755. Nothing is known of the sitter, but his name and age (33) have been preserved thanks to an inscription on the back of the canvas. There is some evidence to suggest he may have been a childhood neighbour of the artist.


  • Title: James Stanley
  • Creator: George Stubbs
  • Date Created: 1755
  • tag / style: George Stubbs; portrait; waistcoat
  • Physical Dimensions: w625 x h750 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: George Stubbs is possibly the most famous artist to have been born in Liverpool. He is also usually considered to have been one of the greatest of all British animal painters. Information about his early training is uncertain. It is thought that he initially learned to paint under the supervision of the Liverpool landscape artist, Hamlet Winstanley (1698-1756). Stubbs may also have taught himself to paint. Throughout his life Stubbs displayed an inquisitive scientific temperament. He was particularly interested in the anatomical construction of animals, birds and humans. He did dissections to further his knowledge. He also tried out new surfaces upon which to do his painting. His illustrated book 'The Anatomy of the Horse', published in 1766, gained him a Europe-wide reputation. To learn more about George Stubbs and his artworks in the collections of National Museums Liverpool, please follow the link below:http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/online/featuredartists/stubbs/ George Stubbs was the subject of an exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in 2006. To learn more about the exhibition, please follow this link:http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/stubbs/
  • Additional artwork information: To take a closer look at this painting and the story behind it, and to learn more about George Stubbs, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/18c/stubbs-stanley.aspx
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Purchased in 1971

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