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  • This is one of the earliest in a long series of paintings of exotic animals, many of which Stubbs produced for his friends William and John Hunter, the Scottish anatomists and men of science. Stubbs may have met John Hunter in connection with the procurement of cadavers that the older, more socially established, and more medically experienced William dissected for his pupils and other interested people in the basement of his London town house. We do not know why Stubbs painted Queen Charlotte’s zebra, or African “she-ass,” nor why the painting was still in his studio at his death, but it has long been presumed that access to the animal was arranged by William Hunter, who served regularly as accoucheur to the queen. This was in fact the first zebra to be seen in England. It was brought from South Africa in 1762 by Sir Thomas Adams, the commanding officer of H.M.S. Terpsichore, as a gift from the governor for young Queen Charlotte. Two live specimens were dispatched from the Cape of Good Hope in what Malcolm Warner has described as “Noah's-ark fashion,” but only the female survived the voyage. As soon as she reached London, the zebra was installed in the menagerie at Buckingham House (Buckingham Palace) and became an instant celebrity. “The Queen's she-ass,” wrote one observer, “was pestered with visits, and had all her hours employed from morning to night in satisfying the curiosity of the public. She had a sentinel and guard placed at the door of her stable. . . . The crowds that resorted to the Asinine palace were exceeding great,” (MacClintock, 1992, p. 4). In fact, she also inspired a number of rude songs—including this one that circulated in broadsheets: Ye Bucks and ye Jemmies who amble the Park, Whose Hearts and whose Heads are as lightsome as Cork, Through “Buckingham Gate”, as to “Chelsea” you pass, Without Fee or Reward, you may see the Q---‘s A--. “See the Q---‘s A--. See the Q---'s A--, Without Fee or Reward”, &c. (The Queen’s Ass. a new humorous allegorical song . . . By H. Howard, To the Tune of “Stick a Pin There”. Broadsheet, British Museum) Stubbs’s grasp of the anatomical differences between zebras and horses is, of course, masterly, and in the present work the backward direction of the ears, the dewlap on the underside of the neck or the front, and the “gridiron” pattern of the stripes on the nether regions, immediately above the tail—all these are exactly consistent with zoological verisimilitude and, in fact, identify the present animal as the smallest of three subspecies of zebra, the Cape Mountain. “The Queen's Ass” survived until 3 April 1773, perhaps in spite of sharing its accommodation in due course with an elephant and being moved to the Tower of London.
?:PX_curatorial_comment
  • This is one of the earliest in a long series of paintings of exotic animals, many of which Stubbs produced for his friends William and John Hunter, the Scottish anatomists and men of science. Stubbs may have met John Hunter in connection with the procurement of cadavers that the older, more socially established, and more medically experienced William dissected for his pupils and other interested people in the basement of his London town house. We do not know why Stubbs painted Queen Charlotte’s zebra, or African “she-ass,” nor why the painting was still in his studio at his death, but it has long been presumed that access to the animal was arranged by William Hunter, who served regularly as accoucheur to the queen. This was in fact the first zebra to be seen in England. It was brought from South Africa in 1762 by Sir Thomas Adams, the commanding officer of H.M.S. Terpsichore, as a gift from the governor for young Queen Charlotte. Two live specimens were dispatched from the Cape of Good Hope in what Malcolm Warner has described as “Noah's-ark fashion,” but only the female survived the voyage. As soon as she reached London, the zebra was installed in the menagerie at Buckingham House (Buckingham Palace) and became an instant celebrity. “The Queen's she-ass,” wrote one observer, “was pestered with visits, and had all her hours employed from morning to night in satisfying the curiosity of the public. She had a sentinel and guard placed at the door of her stable. . . . The crowds that resorted to the Asinine palace were exceeding great,” (MacClintock, 1992, p. 4). In fact, she also inspired a number of rude songs—including this one that circulated in broadsheets: Ye Bucks and ye Jemmies who amble the Park, Whose Hearts and whose Heads are as lightsome as Cork, Through “Buckingham Gate”, as to “Chelsea” you pass, Without Fee or Reward, you may see the Q---‘s A--. “See the Q---‘s A--. See the Q---'s A--, Without Fee or Reward”, &c. (The Queen’s Ass. a new humorous allegorical song . . . By H. Howard, To the Tune of “Stick a Pin There”. Broadsheet, British Museum) Stubbs’s grasp of the anatomical differences between zebras and horses is, of course, masterly, and in the present work the backward direction of the ears, the dewlap on the underside of the neck or the front, and the “gridiron” pattern of the stripes on the nether regions, immediately above the tail—all these are exactly consistent with zoological verisimilitude and, in fact, identify the present animal as the smallest of three subspecies of zebra, the Cape Mountain. “The Queen's Ass” survived until 3 April 1773, perhaps in spite of sharing its accommodation in due course with an elephant and being moved to the Tower of London.
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  • Bibliograpic reference :: A Zebra, a tigress and a cheetah : new light on Geirge Stubbs's exotic animal subjects, British Art Journal, Vol. 15, Autumn 2014, pp. 99-100, 101, 107, pl. 1, N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: A Great Collection of British Pictures in Virginia, The Times (London), Issue No. 55689, May 1, 1963, p. 22, Available Online : Times Digital Archive , Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Alec Guinness, My name escapes me, the diary of a retiring actor, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1996, p. 171, PN2598 G8 A34 1996 (Bass)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Amy Meyers, My Favourite Painting: Amy Meyers, https://www.countrylife.co.uk/luxury/art-and-antiques/my-favourite-painting-amy-meyers-86337, Country Life, May 13, 2016, Available Online
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Andrew Graham-Dixon, A history of British art, BBC, London, UK, 1996, pp. 121-2, pl. 45, N6761 G72 1996 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Basil Taylor, Stubbs, Phaidon, London, 1971, p. 209, pl. 56, NJ18 St915 T39 (YCBA) +
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Basil Taylor, Stubbs, Phaidon, London, 1975, p. 209, pl. 56, NJ18 St915 T39 1975 (YCBA) +
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Britain in the world: Highlights from the Yale Center for British Art in honor of Amy Meyers, Yale University Press, New Haven, London, p. 56, N6761 .Y33 2019 (LC) (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 62, ND466 G67 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Christie's sale catalogue : Catalogue of the Valuable Collection of Pictures & Drawings and Engravings of the Early English School of Sir Walter Gilbey : 12 March, 14 March and 15 March 1910, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, March 12, 14 and 15, 1910, p. 26, Lot 147, Fiche B51, Fiche# 1408 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Christie's sale catalogue: Catalogue of Early English portraits and Ancient and Modern Pictures and Drawings : 15 June 1923, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 15, 1923, p. 14, Lot 58, Fiche B51, Fiche# 2127 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Christie's sale catalogue: Catalogue of a Valuable Collection of Sporting Pictures, Drawings, Engravings and Early English Mezzotints, the property of Walter Gibney : 25 May 1891, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, May 25, 1891, p. 22, Lot 348, Fiche B51, Fiche # 0574 (YCBA) , Also Avaialble online : Art Sales Cataalogues - Lugt # 50014
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Christopher Plumb, The Georgian menagerie : exotic animals in eighteenth-century London, I.B. Tauris, London, 2015, p. 186, fig. 8, QL73.G72 L667 2015
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Constance-Anne Parker, Mr. Stubbs, the Horse Painter, J. A. Allen, London, 1971, p. 88, NJ18 St915 +P37 Oversize (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Constance-Anne Parker, Mr. Stubbs, the horse painter., J. A. Allen, London, 1971, p. 88, NJ18 St915 P37 (YCBA) +
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Country pursuits, British, American, and French sporting art from the Mellon collections in the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Charlottesville, 2007, p. 11, ND1383 G7 V57 2007 + OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Dorcas Macclintock, Animals observed, a look at animals in art, Scribner, New York Toronto New York, 1993, p. 33, N7660 M25 1993 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Dorcas Macclintock, Queen Charlotte's zebra, 1992, p.5, front cover, V 0143 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Enlightened Princesses : Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn, 2017, p. 481, 512, fig. 29.11, 29.50, NX543 +.E55 2017 Oversize (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Geoffrey Agnew, Yale's 1700 Mellon Pictures, The Times (London), issue no. 59989, Thursday, April 28, 1977, p. 9, Available Online : Times Digital Archive , Also available on Microfilm : Film An T842 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Giles Waterfield, Mr Mellon, RA : the magazine for the Friends of the Royal Academy, No. 96, Autumn 2007, p. 71, V 1905 (YCBA) , Detached from RA, no.96 (2007:Autumn)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Gill Gregory, The Studio, A Psychoanalytic Legacy, Free Publishing Limited, London, p. 47-60, PR6107.R44475 S78 2015 (LC) (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Herbert W Rott, George Stubbs, 1724-1806, science into art, Prestel, Munich ; New York, 2012, pp. 180-81, cat. no. 45, NJ18.St915 A1213 2012 + OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: J. B. Myers, Other, Artforum International, Vol. 21, March 1983, p. 44-49, N1 A814 OVERSIZE (HAAS)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Painting in England: 1700-1850, the Collection of English paintings formed by Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon : on Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmind, untik August 18th, Connoisseur, Vol. 153, June 1963, pp. 102, 105, N1 C75 + (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. 1, 6, 252, no. 23, fig, 1, pl. 23, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Zebra by George Stubbs, http://www.youtube.com/v/VVp_eX-JKRA, October 30, 2008, Available Online via YouTube , video
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John McDonald, A Feast of Mellon, Sydney Morning Herald, May 9, 1998, p. 14, Film An Sy25 (SML) , Also Available Online (Factiva database)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 74-75, no. 74, Colour Pl.11, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, The Paul Mellon Collection, Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 74-75, no. 74, Colour Pl.11, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, 1724-1806, [exhibition] Tate Gallery., Tate Publishing, London, 1984, p. 112, no. 77, NJ18 St915 E43 (YCBA) +
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, painter, catalogue raisonne, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., London, 2007, pp. 50-1, 180-1, no. 40, fig. 4, NJ18 St915 A12 E44 2007 + (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 4, 114-5, no. 42, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Lawrence Trevelyan Weaver, Painter of pedigree, Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury, Animal Artist of the Agricultural Revolution, London, p. 303, NJ18.W3733 W43 2017 (LC) (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Lindsay Duguid, The Recollected Works, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, Issue no. 5458, November 8, 2007, p. 17, Available Online : TLS Archive , Also Available on microfilm : Film S748 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Lindsay Rothwell, Paul Mellon's legacy, an American's passion for British art : Sackler Wing of Galleries, 20 October 2007 - 27 January 2008 : an introduction to the exhibition for teachers and students., Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 2007, p. 21, fig. 2, V 2038 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Malcolm Cormack, George Stubbs in the collection of Paul Mellon, a memorial exhibition, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 1999, p. 39, no. 19, NJ18 St915 G54 1999 (YCBA) , Copy 2 is on Mellopn Shelf
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Malcolm Warner, George Stubbs, his patrons and collectors, Magazine Antiques, vol. 166, no. 6, December 2004, p. 70, pl. XII, V 1629 (YCBA) , Available Online (Orbis).
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Malcolm Warner, Great British paintings from American collections, Holbein to Hockney, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 103-5, no. 33, ND464 W27 2001 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Marina Warner, The Analyst: Whether Painting Men or Horses, George Stubbs Knew What Made Them Tick, Connoisseur, v. 215,, March 1985, p. 134, N1 C75 + (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Mark Laird, A natural history of English gardening, 1650-1800, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2015, pp. 248, 250, pl. 222, SB457.6 .L35 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Melinda Ruth McCurdy, An 18th-Century Star in Stripes, http://huntingtonblogs.org/2018/01/an-18th-century-star-in-stripes/, Verso Huntington Blogs, January 31, 2018, , Available Online
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Michael Glover, Scenes from Afar, The Times (London), Saturday, September 22, 2007, p. 28, Available Online : Times Digital Arcive , Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: National Gallery of Art, Painting in Georgian England from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1970, p. 6, no. 16, ND488 P25 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Oliver Millar, The later Georgian pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen., Phaidon, London, 1969, p. xvii (v. 1), ND466 M55 (YCBA) +
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 75 (v. 1), no. 267, pl. 53, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) , Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 166 (v. 1), no. 315, pl. 164, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels], Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v.1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : April 18-July 29, 2007, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 2007, back cover, V 1735 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels], Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v.1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Paul Mellon, Reflections in a silver spoon, a memoir, W. Morrow, New York, 1992, pp. 281, 291, N5220 M552 1992 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Robert Michael Neuman, Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, Pearson, Boston, 2013, p. 401, N6415.B3 N48 2013 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Robin Blake, George Stubbs and the wide creation, animals, people and places in the life of George Stubbs, 1724-1806, Chatto & Windus, London : Chatto & Windus, 2005, 2005, pp. 215, 278, cl. pl. 11, NJ18.St915 B53 2005 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Screens, genealogies of the excessive screen, a Mellon Sawyer seminar at Yale, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, p. 10, V 2776 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Society of Artists of Great Britain, A catalogue of the pictures, sculptures, models, drawings, prints, &c. exhibited by the Society of Artists of Great Britain, 1763, p. 8, no. 121, N5055 S6 C3 (RARE BOOKS, YCBA) , Also Available online in Eighteeneth Century Colectionc Online
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Sotheby's sale catalogue : Catalogue of Valuable Pictures by Old Masters of the Italian and Dutch Schools : 16 May 1928, Sotheby's, London, May 16, 1928, p. 33, Lot 130, Film B12, Reel 90 of 155 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Stephen Deuchar, Noble exercise, the sporting ideal in eighteenth-century British art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1982, pp. 31,34,47, no. 77, ND1388 G7 D48+ (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Stubbs, an exhibition in honor of Paul Mellon : National Gallery of Art, 4 May-2 June 1985., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1985, no. 27, V 0413 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Thorvaldsens Museum, Aftenlandet, motiver og stemninger i dansk landskabsmaleri omkring êar 1800., Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, 2011, pp. 173-75, ND1361.5 A47 2011 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Venetia Morrison, The art of George Stubbs, Wellfleet Press, Seacaucus, N.J., 1989, pp. 138-9, NJ18 St915 M67 1989+ (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Walter Gilbey, Life of George Stubbs, R.A., Vinton, London, 1898, p. 167, NJ18 St915 G55 (HAAS)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, p. 362, fig. 198, AM343 .W545 2018 (LC) Oversize (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: William Vaughan, British painting, the Golden Age from Hogarth to Turner, Thames and Hudson, London, 1999, p. 169, no. 115, ND466 V28 1999 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965., vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, pp. 47-8 (v.1), no. 179, pl. 53, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)
  • Dimension height :: 102.9cm
  • Dimension width :: 127.6cm
  • Exhibition :: 2016 Installation YCBA - 401
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: Enlightened Princesses - Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World
  • Exhibition :: George Stubbs
  • Exhibition :: George Stubbs (1724-1806) Tate Gallery
  • Exhibition :: George Stubbs in the Collection of Paul Mellon: a Memorial Exhibition
  • Exhibition :: Great British Paintings from American Collections: Holbein to Hockney
  • Exhibition :: Noble Exercise - The Sporting Ideal in Eighteenth-Century British Art
  • Exhibition :: Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
  • Exhibition :: Stubbs - An Exhibition in Honor of Paul Mellon
  • Exhibition :: The Critique of Reason : Romantic Art, 1760–1860
  • Exhibition :: This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale
  • Exhibition :: William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum
  • Exhibition :: Yale University Art Gallery 2015 - 2016
  • Located in :: 401
  • Located in :: Bay18
  • Located in :: New Haven
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: On view
  • Located in :: YCBA, 401, Bay18
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: painting
  • Subject Concept :: animal
  • Subject Concept :: animal art
  • Subject Concept :: dark
  • Subject Concept :: exoticism
  • Subject Concept :: forest
  • Subject Concept :: gifts
  • Subject Concept :: landscape
  • Subject Concept :: zebra (mammal)
  • Subject Place :: Africa
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
?:PX_has_main_representation
?:label
  • Zebra
?:type