Stubbs was an incessant experimenter always alert to the potential of new technologies. He had long explored painting enamel on copper but this is the first enamel Stubbs ever made on a ceramic support. He formed a close friendship with the potter and industrialist Josiah Wedgwood who was developing new techniques for the manufacture and distribution of ceramic tableware. In this case Stubbs appears to have taken an oval section of earthenware from a previously manufactured Wedgwood dish, painted it with enamel, and then re-fired it. This experimental object led to a close collaboration between artist and potter, the latter beginning to make large earthenware plaques specifically for Stubbs to paint on, one of which is shown nearby.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2022


  • Title: Sleeping Leopard
  • Creator: George Stubbs, 1724–1806, British
  • Creator Lifespan: 1724/1806
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Date Created: 1777
  • Physical Dimensions: 4 1/4 x 6 5/8 inches (10.8 x 16.8 cm) Frame: 7 1/4 × 9 1/2 × 1 3/4 inches (18.4 × 24.1 × 4.4 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: leopard, rocks (landforms), oval, plants, sporting art, sleeping
  • External Link: See this work of art on the Yale Center for British Art website
  • Medium: Enamel on Wedgwood biscuit earthenware
  • Repository Name: Yale Center for British Art
  • Credit Line: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

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