Mare Mourning

Mare Mourning

Oil painting

This painting is a previously undiscovered work by the 18th-century British artist George Stubbs (1724-1806). An English animal painter and engraver, Stubbs is celebrated as the greatest of all horse painters.

The painting depicts a mare in a pastoral landscape, in front of a small brick rubbing house, similar to those depicted in Stubbs’ Newmarket series. The mare’s head is lowered, mourning the loss of a pure white foal. The foal is believed to have Lethal White syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects horses and is caused by a mutation in the EDNRB gene. Foals born with this condition often die within a few days of birth due to severe intestinal malformations.

The fact that Stubbs depicted the foal with this condition in this painting, suggest that he was potentially aware of the disorder and its characteristics, which is a testament to his keen observation and understanding of animal anatomy, and his attention to detail. This painting holds significance as a representation of the knowledge and awareness of this condition well ahead of the discovery of the genetics which would explain it.

The painting had previously considered lost, only referenced a notebook belonging to Stubbs as “painting of a mare with a dead foal”. It was discovered as part of the estate of the late Jasper Chiswell MP.

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Object details

Object Type Oil painting
Materials and techniques
Creators Thomas Love (concept art)
Desmond Mac Mahon (oil painting)
Creation date 2019
Project Strike
Copyright © Brontë Film & TV

About this object record

This object was created as a prop or piece of scenic set dressing for a film or television production. It is neither an historic original or an object from the archives but a carefully crafted fake designed to entertain.