Here is what the pencil-written inscription on the top left of the painting says: “Tiney, drown’d and resuscitated, July 1868, drawn by Sam Bough Augst. 1869, Died May 25, 1875.”
Sam Bough (1822-1878) rose from humble origins to become one of the Britain’s premier Victorian landscape and marine painters. Bough was influenced by the artist, Horatio McCulloch, with whom he was friends until they began a feud over a wager, according to the Lytham St. Annes Art Collection. (The Collection says it is “amongst the finest town hall collections in the country,” which includes works by Bough.)
We probably will never know why he waited more than a year to paint his dog, Tiney, who apparently was so miraculously rescued. We also don’t know what the feud between the two artists was precisely about, although later in their careers they became rivals. It is interesting, however, that McCulloch was a fancier of Skye Terriers; so much so that a monument to him includes a carving of this dog. Furthermore, the dog depicted in this painting, I think, may in fact be a Skye Terrier. One of my biographical sources for Bough does note that their dogs “took sides,” whatever that may mean, in the artists’ feud.
The story that comes to us from over a century-and-a-half earlier is that this piece was “drawn” by Sam Bough, though the painting is not signed. In any case, it is a charming portrait of what I like to think of as a Skye Terrier, a breed that is said to be disappearing in its country of origin. It is a gouache painting with still-vivid colors.
It is housed in what appears to be its original, decorative wood and gesso frame. The painting is in excellent original condition, with no damage to the painting. However, the frame has some gesso losses in the bottom left corner and a few other places. These losses are usual for this type of antique frame and do not detract from the painting’s decorative value.
It measures 23 inches wide by 28-3/4 inches high, including the frame. The portrait itself is 14-1/4 inches wide by 19-3/4 inches high.
Portrait of the Terrier, "Tiney," by Sam Bough
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