Philip E. Stretton (1865-c. 1919), was a British animal, sporting and genre painter who worked in oils and watercolors. I haven’t discovered much about his personal life, but “The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists, Up to 1920” notes that he lived in London and towns in the south of England. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, where he exhibited 40 works. He also exhibited 32 paintings at the Royal Academy, as well as a number of pieces at various other prestigious venues, including Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, the New Gallery, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the Royal Scottish Academy.
Illustrations of four of Stretton’s paintings can be found in William Secord’s “Dog Painting, 1840-1940: A Social History of the Dog in Art,” including one in color and one that occupies a full page. The author says that while little known until recently, Stretton’s work shows “a sympathy for his subject matter which gives an endearing, almost human quality…for during the 19th century artists often imbued their portraits of dogs with human emotions.” It is little wonder that it is said that Sir Edwin Landseer’s works had a great influence on him.
It’s not unusual for his paintings to sell in the five figures. In fact, Sotheby’s sold one of his works for $110,000 a few years ago. It is fully signed on the back and monogrammed on the front.
In this atmospheric painting, Stretton provides the viewer with a glimpse of country life. The hound is standing in front of the fireplace, gazing up at a large portrait. The portrait could be of a familiar figure or of an image that caught the dog’s attention. I’d like to think that the dog recognizes his owner.
The artist has placed the dog in a well-painted, inviting interior scene that is primarily lit by the fire. The fire casts a romantic warm glow that is reflected on the hound’s fur.
Stretton is known for placing his four-legged subjects in the middle of well-detailed wonderful interiors, especially with fireplaces. It is easy to see in this painting why he was so well known for utilizing this technique to its best advantage. It allows the viewer to enjoy both the subject and the background.
The artist used a limited palette here, but the golds, reds, browns and blacks work harmoniously with each other to help create even more enchantment to this scene.
I have had this painting placed in a custom-made wood and gesso frame in a traditional style.
The painting is in excellent condition. I have had it professionally cleaned and restored.
It measures 18 inches wide by 22 inches high, including the frame.
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