Masterpieces on loan

Three scintillating and very different paintings are now on display at the Barber for the first time in a series of swaps with other top UK galleries.

Mares and Foals in a River Landscape by the eminent English animal painter George Stubbs (1724 – 1806) – and The Capella Nuova outside the Porta di Chiara, a gem-like small study from a series of views of Naples painted in about 1782 by Thomas Jones (1742 – 1803), have been lent in exchange for Barber paintings borrowed for Tate Britain’s exhibition, Hogarth and Europe.

Stubbs is best known for his masterful equine subjects, such as the National Gallery’s iconic ‘Whistlejacket’, and the Barber visitor exemplifies his interests and his expert knowledge, achieved from studying horse anatomy from life and dissection. A group of glossy mares and foals are presented in a finely balanced composition, both a lyrical evocation of the English countryside and a paean to racehorse-breeding.

Mares and Foals in a River Landscape was voted one of the top ten most popular paintings in Britain in a 2017 poll commissioned by electronics giant Samsung.

Thomas Jones is best known as a painter of Welsh and Italian landscapes. The exquisite little picture, The Capella Nuova outside the Porta di Chiara, was completed from Jones’s painting room, overlooking Naples. It is one of a series of works only really appreciated since the 20th century, when Jones, with his practice of painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air or on the spot) was reappraised as a precursor to the Impressionists, who made the practice their own 100 years later.

The Tate loans – swaps for the Barber’s Nicholas Lancret masterpiece Lovers in a Landscape, and Giuseppe Crespi’s Woman Searching for Fleas – join Portrait of Rosamund Sargent, née Chambers, 1749, by the prolific Scottish portraitist Allan Ramsay (1713-84) in the Beige Gallery. This sumptuous painting is on loan to the Barber in exchange for Rossetti’s tour de force, The Blue Bower, currently enjoying a starring role in the exhibition Rossetti’s Portraits at the Holburne Museum, Bath.

All the loans can be enjoyed at the Barber until 20 March 2022.

Join Robert Wenley, Head of Collections, for a short introductory talk on Wednesday 16 March, 1.30 – 2pm. Find out more and book your place.


10 December 2021

Header images: Tate