To celebrate Grand National weekend we have a photo from George Stubbs “The Anatomy of the Horse” from 1766 held here in the Library’s Archives and Special Collections. Stubbs’ book was the first anatomical study of the horse since Carlo Ruini’s “Dell Anatomia et dell”. Being a scientist as well as an artist Stubbs dissected the horse himself in order to study each layer, making detailed drawings as he went along. He produced the engravings in the book himself and illustrated the different textures of vein, muscle and bone so successfully that the book gained him a Europe-wide reputation.
The Walker Art Gallery holds one of his horse paintings “Molly Longlegs” in pose similar to our horse here. Whilst not a Grand National winner, Molly Longlegs twice won 200 guinea prizes at the Newmarket races.