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Wednesday, 06 November 2013 17:39

George Stubbs Paintings to Stay in UK

George Stubbs' Portrait of a Large Dog.' George Stubbs' Portrait of a Large Dog.'

Two important 18th century oil paintings by English artist George Stubbs will stay in Britain after an appeal backed by the well-known naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough. A £1.5 million donation from shipping magnate Eyal Ofer helped the National Maritime Museum acquire the works. The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Monument Trust, the Art Fund and members of the public also made significant donations.

 The paintings, which went on display at London’s Royal Academy in 1773, gave the British public their first glimpse of a kangaroo and a dingo. In January, after being sold to a buyer outside of the UK, the paintings were placed under a temporary export bar by the British government. The ban granted the British public enough time to raise enough funds to keep the culturally significant works in the UK.

Since Stubbs was unable to paint the animals, which are native to Australia, from life, he created Kongouro from New Holland (The Kangaroo) and Portrait of a Large Dog (The Dingo) from spoken accounts. He also made sketches of the kangaroo after inflating the animal’s preserved skin. Stubbs won praise for bringing the likenesses of the foreign animals to the British public for the first time. It is believed that Sir Joseph Banks commissioned the paintings after assisting in Captain James Cook’s voyage to the Pacific.

The works will go on display in the historic Queen’s House, which is part of the National Maritime Museum this coming summer. The gallery space will be named The Eyal Ofer Gallery.

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