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Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians

Stubbs, George
Europe, United Kingdom, England

First floor: 18th Century

oil paint
182.7 x 275.3 cm

More Details

Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians about 1765
George Stubbs 1724-1806
Oil on canvas

This painting commemorates the gift of a cheetah
to George III from George Pigot, Governor of Madras.
The King gave it to his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland,
who was the Ranger at Windsor and kept a menagerie.

At 12 o'clock on Saturday 30 June 1764
the Duke staged an experiment in Windsor Great Park.
In order to see how cheetahs attack their prey
he placed it within a netted enclosure containing a stag.
Unexpectedly, the cheetah was tossed into the air
and fled into some woods where it killed a fallow deer.

Stubbs' accurate painting of the cheetah
and his sensitive portraits of its handlers
seem to have been based on first-hand observations.
The stag, however, is a curious hybrid
and a later Pigot had it painted out in 1882;
the overpaint was removed in 1960.

The landscape is unrelated to Windsor Park:
its exotic features conform to fashionable taste.

Purchased with with the assistance of the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant
Fund and the National Art Collections Fund (Eugene Cremetti Fund) 1970.34