This picture was commissioned by the Governor-General of Madras, who donated the cheetah to George III in 1764.

Stubbs shows an Indian who has raised a cheetah's hood and is ready to release it as another directs its attention to a stag in an imaginary landscape. Its subject is based on a story about the Duke of Cumberland releasing a cheetah with a stag in an enclosure at Windsor Great Park to watch how they kill their prey in 1764. The stag repulsed two attempts and then took to the offensive, chasing the cheetah. The air of suspended animation, the tense and anxious poses, and the exotic cast of figures and animals all conspire to make this one of Stubbs' most arresting work. The acquisition of this painting caused a sensation at the time when it was purchased for such a high price and by a museum outside London.

Provenance

Commissioned by George Pigot, 1st Baron Pigot of Patshull; by descent to the Trustees of Sir George Pigots's Will Trust; their sale at Sotherby's, 1970; bought Agnew's.


Manchester Art Gallery

Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3JL
0161 235 8888
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Exhibitions at Manchester Art Gallery

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