This is a portrait of John Gibbons with his famous Herefordshire ox. The animal was a staggering 6ft 3in (1.9m) high at the shoulders and weighed 1300 kg. An average ox in the 1780s would have been about 4ft (1.2m) and weighed 500 kg. John Gibbons, a gentleman farmer of Long Sutton in the fens of south-east Lincolnshire, won the ox at a cock fight. Stubbs includes the champion cockerel in this painting. Gibbons transported the animal from Lincolnshire to London, where it was displayed in various exhibitions. Sadly, the ox was too big to live very long. It was reported that it died when its legs collapsed under its own weight.


  • Title: The Lincolnshire Ox
  • Creator: George Stubbs
  • Date Created: 1790
  • tag / style: George Stubbs; animal; Ox; cockerel; man; farmer; garden; grazing; John Gibbons; gentleman; comical; hat; Lincolnshire Ox
  • Physical Dimensions: w990 x h679 cm (Without frame)
  • Artwork History: The painting passed by descent through John Gibbons’ family until it was bequeathed to the Walker Art Gallery by his great great-grandson Mr George B. Clifton in 1941
  • 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 and 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: 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-ox.aspx
  • Type: Oil on panel
  • Rights: Bequeathed by George B Clifton in 1941

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps