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  • “Eagle, A Celebrated Stallion” is one of the finest of Ward’s portraits of thoroughbred racehorses and exhibits his remarkable ability to create an accurate physical portrait of a particular animal. At the same time, he evokes a transcendent Romantic type—suggesting the latent power of a barely tamed creature, full of drive, dash, and tension, whose swollen veins and flaring nostrils to some extent conjure up the elemental forces of nature itself. Having dwelled for years in the shadow cast by the great equine painters, George Stubbs and his contemporary, the slightly younger Sawrey Gilpin, Ward was obviously aware that his portraits of horses would inevitably be compared with theirs. It was not until 1809, shortly after Stubbs and Gilpin had died, that Ward felt comfortable venturing into the subgenre, his mastery of which is demonstrated in “Eagle”. Eagle and Ward’s other great racehorse paintings differ from Stubbs's in that the essential ingredient of human control—jockeys, grooms, attendants, owners, which to some extent defined the very purpose of the thoroughbred—is conspicuously absent. Neither is there much evidence of the mounting yard, finishing post, or rubbing-down house. Instead, the noble creature exists on its own, standing in a landscape that is laden with potential drama. Eagle, celebrated for his strength and speed, was a prize-winning bay colt by Volunteer out of a mare by High Flyer and a descendant of Old Partner. He was eventually exported to Virginia, where he influenced the development of American bloodstock. Eagle’s owner, Thomas Hornby Morland, used an engraving after Ward’s portrait as the frontispiece for his influential treatise “The Genealogy of the English Race Horse” (1810).
?:PX_curatorial_comment
  • “Eagle, A Celebrated Stallion” is one of the finest of Ward’s portraits of thoroughbred racehorses and exhibits his remarkable ability to create an accurate physical portrait of a particular animal. At the same time, he evokes a transcendent Romantic type—suggesting the latent power of a barely tamed creature, full of drive, dash, and tension, whose swollen veins and flaring nostrils to some extent conjure up the elemental forces of nature itself. Having dwelled for years in the shadow cast by the great equine painters, George Stubbs and his contemporary, the slightly younger Sawrey Gilpin, Ward was obviously aware that his portraits of horses would inevitably be compared with theirs. It was not until 1809, shortly after Stubbs and Gilpin had died, that Ward felt comfortable venturing into the subgenre, his mastery of which is demonstrated in “Eagle”. Eagle and Ward’s other great racehorse paintings differ from Stubbs's in that the essential ingredient of human control—jockeys, grooms, attendants, owners, which to some extent defined the very purpose of the thoroughbred—is conspicuously absent. Neither is there much evidence of the mounting yard, finishing post, or rubbing-down house. Instead, the noble creature exists on its own, standing in a landscape that is laden with potential drama. Eagle, celebrated for his strength and speed, was a prize-winning bay colt by Volunteer out of a mare by High Flyer and a descendant of Old Partner. He was eventually exported to Virginia, where he influenced the development of American bloodstock. Eagle’s owner, Thomas Hornby Morland, used an engraving after Ward’s portrait as the frontispiece for his influential treatise “The Genealogy of the English Race Horse” (1810).
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  • Alternate title :: Eagle, a stallion
  • Alternate title :: Portrait of Eagle
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Art on the line : the Royal Academy exhibitions at Somerset House, 1780-1836 : [catalogue of works], , The Courtauld Gallery, London, 2001, no. 129, V 0909 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: C. Reginald Grundy, James Ward R.A., his life and works, with a catalogue of his engravings and pictures, Otto limited, London, 1909, p. 45, No. 386, NJ18 W21 G7+ OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: David H. Solkin, Art on the Line : the Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836, , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2001, Foldout No. 82, N5054 A78 2001B (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Diana Donald, Picturing animals in Britain, 1750-1850, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007, p. 209, no. 194, N7660 D67 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Edward John Nygren, James Ward, RA (1769-1859) Papers and Patrons, Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 75, 2013, pp. 285-86, 287, no. 166, Pl. XIII, N12 W35 A1 + OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: English Animal and Sporting Pictures in the Mellon Collection, Apollo, vol. 77,ns#14, April 1963, p. 286, fig,. 7, N1 A54 + (YCBA) , Another Copy also available in Vertical File: V1168
  • Bibliograpic reference :: J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, pp. 62, 129, no. 148, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, pp. 62, 129, no. 148, N6766 Y34 1977 (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, p. 281, no. 84, pl. 84, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, The horse in art, Little Brown, Boston, 1980, p. 126, Folio AN 51 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, The horse in art, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 2006, p. 138b, N7668 H6 B37 2006 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Fairley, Great racehorses in art, Phaidon, Oxford [Oxfordshire], 1984, pp. 76-77, N7668 H6 F35 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 212-14, no. 226, pl. 76, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Malcolm Cormack, A concise catalogue of paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 234, 235, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Oliver Beckett, The life and work of James Ward, R.A., 1769-1859, the forgotten genius, Book Guild, Lewes (England), 1995, pp. 64,71,93,102-03, 194, no. 133, NJ18 W21 B42 1995 (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. 80 (v.1), no. 286, 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. 185 (v.1), no. 354, pl. 198, 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. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition Catalogue. 1810. 42d., Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, no. 42, B. McMillan, London, 1810, p.12, no. 211, N5054 A43 v. 2 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Sporting Subjects in the Exhibition of the Royal Academy, 1810, The Sporting Magazine, vol. 36, no. 212, May 1810, p. 61, Sporting 2090 (YCBA Rare Books)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Stella A. Walker, Sporting art, England 1700-1900, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., New York, 1972, p. 78, pl. 30, N8250 W35 (YCBA) +
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Venetia Morrison, The art of George Stubbs, Wellfleet Press, Seacaucus, N.J., 1989, p. 183, NJ18 St915 M67 1989+ (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, , 1965, p. 56 ( v.1), no. 211, ND466 Y35 (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, p. 56 ( v.1), no. 211, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)
  • Dimension height :: 90.8cm
  • Dimension width :: 121.9cm
  • Exhibition :: ' Art on the Line ' : the Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836
  • Exhibition :: 2016 - Long Gallery 408
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: James Ward
  • Exhibition :: Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
  • Located in :: 408
  • Located in :: Bay C
  • Located in :: New Haven
  • Located in :: On view
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: painting
  • Subject Concept :: animal art
  • Subject Concept :: clouds
  • Subject Concept :: fence
  • Subject Concept :: flowers (plants)
  • Subject Concept :: hills
  • Subject Concept :: horses (animals)
  • Subject Concept :: landscape
  • Subject Concept :: pasture
  • Subject Concept :: rocks
  • Subject Concept :: sporting art
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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  • Eagle, a Celebrated Stallion
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