George Stubbs' fine thoroughbred painting could race to $48m at Christie's


Lovers of British art can rejoice and indulge themselves in Christie's impressive sale which takes place tomorrow, July 5, to celebrate the finest works produced by the Old Masters.

Many pieces of high pedigree will be on show, though without any doubt the painting which stands out from the crowd as the true thoroughbred is George Stubbs’ wonderfully titled Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a trainer, a jockey and a stable lad.

Produced by the Liverpudlian artist in 1765, it depicts the most famous horse of the era, Gimcrack, being cared for in the foreground of the image, while a second scene is portrayed in the background, of the horse racing.


Immense detail and imagery dominate this famous George Stubbs painting

The intricate detail brings real life to the event, with the horse's streamlined, skeletal physique represented strikingly, and the highly attentive nature of the three figures clearly shown, as they look after their prize asset.

Stubbs was particularly well-known for his paintings of horses above all else, and there is no question that this was one of his finest works.

It has been called 'one of his most beautiful pictures', and for this reason has been given an estimate value of between £20m-30m ($32m-48m).

Of an entirely different nature is the second most sought after piece from the auction, which is Thomas Gainsborough's Portrait of Mrs William Villebois. Though not estimated as highly as Stubbs's work, it is still expected to reach a significant price of £4m-6m ($6.4m-9.6m).


One of Gainsborough's finest portraits, it's little wonder this could make $9m

It is one of Gainsborough's most accomplished female portraits, and is without question one of his finest full-lengths. Add to this the fact that it is in superb condition and it has never come up at auction before - only having been sold privately - and it is obvious why it is valued highly.

Another exquisite full-length portrait, this time produced by Robert Peake of William Pope, the Earl of Downe, is also expected to break the £1m mark, estimate at between £1m-1.5m ($1.6m-2.4m). This is little surprise given Peake's reputation as one of the finest Jacobean painters.

The extreme quality of these pieces, as well as the star names attached, mean they are always going to be especially sought after, and as such are only likely to increase in value and offer a genuine alternative investment opportunity.


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