An exhibition inspired by George Stubbs' Kangaroo and Dingo paintings, which are on tour around the UK after being acquired by the National Maritime Museum with support from the Art Fund.
On his return in 1771 from Captain Cook’s ‘first voyage of discovery’ – which had taken him from Brazil to New Zealand and Australia – the eminent naturalist Sir Joseph Banks commissioned two paintings from the artist George Stubbs.
The Kongouro from New Holland and Portrait of a Large Dog, were the only animal portraits that the artist did not paint from life, instead based on Banks’s observations. They show, respectively, a kangaroo against a background of woods and mountains and a not entirely convincing representation of a dingo with a dark brown pelt, rather short legs and a white-tipped tail like a fox’s brush standing in a desert landscape.
Recently acquired by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, this autumn they provide the centrepiece of an exhibition that aims to investigate themes of exploration, art and science at the Hunterian in Glasgow – already the owner of several other Stubbs paintings of ‘New World animals’.
They are shown alongside works from the Horniman in London, the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby.