When Stubbs settled in London in about 1759 he was first patronised by aristocrats noted for their interest in racing and hunting, including the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Grosvenor, the Marquis of Rockingham and Viscount Bolingbroke. The latter owned Molly Long-legs when this work was exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1762, although the groom is not wearing Bolingbroke’s colours. Molly Long-legs was a champion racehorse. Bolingbroke was well-known for his love of gambling, drinking and horses. His fame increased when details of his messy divorce from Lady Diana Spencer became public. Bolingbroke was one of Stubbs’ first patrons when the artist moved to London in 1759. His circle was highly impressed by Stubbs’ knowledge of horse anatomy.


  • Title: Molly Long-legs with her Jockey
  • Creator: George Stubbs
  • Creator Lifespan: 1724/1806
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: London, England
  • Creator Birth Place: Liverpool, England
  • Date Created: 1761/1762
  • tag / style: George Stubbs; Sporting art; horse; jockey; Molly Long-legs; reigns; animal; landscape; tail; mane
  • Physical Dimensions: w1268 x h1010 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 this link: 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: With works such as this Stubbs emerged as Britain’s greatest painter of the horse. In the 1750s he had devoted a long period to the intense study of the horse’s anatomy, reflected here in the superb handling of the animal’s ribcage, musculature and veins. Also memorable is the atmospheric treatment of the landscape, which conveys the artist’s outstanding sense of natural beauty. 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.aspx
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Presented by Lewis’s Ltd in 1951

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