Pekinese are one of the several breeds of dogs that have what I refer to as squashed muzzles. As a result of this facial feature, their long fur, droopy ears and large brown eyes, they are just adorable.
The artist, Captain R.A.V. Hamilton, has painted this beautiful pair to display their beauty, intelligence and winning natures. Each dog has a unique personality. The larger of the two, on the right, seems to be staring fondly back at the artist; whereas the smaller one has a more hesitant look, as if not sure about what is happening as his portrait is being taken.
Both dogs are set against an expanse of bluish-green shrubbery and grass with hints of gold. This background is just a setting for the strong presence of the dogs and therefore more of a hint of the landscape beyond.
The colors of the fur are the usual ones for this breed; that is, golden browns, creams, white and black. The heads are well defined and finely painted. They have been given much expression.
The scale that the artist used helps to portray these dogs to their best advantage. They are painted close-up and loom large in the landscape, giving us a better appreciation of their characteristics and personalities. They are almost life-size, which adds to the fun and charm of this painting. It is signed and dated 1942 in the lower right-hand corner. On the reverse is a label from the Dublin framer.
Although Irish, Capt. Hamilton served in the British army upon his family’s insistence, but was a painter throughout his lifetime. He had a particular interest in the native dog breeds of Ireland and became the best known of Irish artists to specialize in portraits of show dogs. Examples of his work date from the 1920s until the 1950s. Hamilton, in his very distinctive and bold style, often painted pairs of famous Irish dogs, male and female, standing in their native landscapes; not unlike the subjects in this painting. Hamilton’s works were often commissioned by his many patrons.
While many of his works are still privately owned, several can be seen hanging in the Irish Kennel Club in Dublin. And recently the Kennel Club Arts Foundation in London acquired a painting by Hamilton of a Soft-Coated Wheaten terrier. The Foundation’s art gallery houses the largest collection of canine paintings in Europe. The gallery is the temporary home (on loan) of Sir Edwin Landseer’s iconic painting, “A Distinguished Member of the Human Society.”
This painting is in superb condition. I have had the painting professionally cleaned so it is now ready to hang. The frame has a few losses to the veneer in some places, but because of its overall pattern of the faux tortoise-shell effect and its high gloss, these losses do not detract from one’s enjoyment of the piece. The painting is housed in its original molded wood frame that suits the painting quite well.
Measuring 31-1/2 inches wide by 25-1/2 inches high, including the frame, this is an impressive piece of sporting art to add to your collection.
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