George Stubbs (1724-1806) was a British painter, best known for his paintings of horses. The typical Englishman he went to Italy only to convince himself that nature was always more beautiful than art whether Greek or Roman and having convinced himself he came back to his beloved English countryside and started to paint nature until his death.
He developped a new type of animal picture full of feeling for the grandeur of nature. He made a series of drawings for a book of comparative anatomy, his scientific approach related him to Diderot.
Painted in 1781 in enamel on Wedgwood biscuit earthenware, The Labourers belonged to the collection of Sir John Wedgwood, Bt. , British politician and industrialist of John Wedgwood & Sons Ltd fame. It was bought in 1978 by the Tate Gallery for £ 300,000 ($552,000).