Own Rare Works of Art Celebrating Canine Companions

On November 8th, Bonhams Scotland celebrates the lasting bond in the middle of man and dog with an auction of dog-inspired art. The aptly titled dog sale will feature a selection of 250 paintings, drawings and more, all featuring man’s best friend.

“We have received an incredible international response to this sale,” Bonhams Image Specialist Leo Webster said in a statement. “From nineteenth-century sports motifs to portraits, ceramics, bronzes and collars, we really wanted to show the extent of dogs in art.”

The lots at auction represent a variety of breeds, from Dalmatians to dachshunds and Irish wolfhounds. Highlights include an 1898 canvas by the German artist Paul Friedrich Meyerheim depicting a playful puppy with a bat in his mouth and a 1900 painting by the British artist Maud Earl depicting a small French bulldog looking at something out of sight with wide eyes. Earl was revered for her paintings of purebred dogs. According to Bonhams, his clients included Queen Victoria and Edward VII, who commissioned a portrait of his “beloved” terrier, Caesar.

Among the sculptures for sale, a notable offer is a ten-inch Bronze of a Pekingese dog by the American artist Gertrude Lathrop.

“I chose to model animals because of their infinite variety of shapes and textures and their great beauty, because even the lowest of them have beauty, even The sick beetle with its magnificent tusks,” Lathrop once wrote, by Bonhams.

Anchoring Bonham’s canine Treasure is an 1896 oil painting by the eminent British artist John Emms. The work, titled The New Forest Buckhounds, shows a pack of docile-looking dogs sitting idly during a hunt while their owners roam the surrounding wooded area.

“John Emms was a passionate hunter with a great interest in the Sport and had the rare ability to give a real life to his subjects,” Bonhams notes in the list of lots. “He was at his best painting dogs; with the safe use of liquid brushstrokes, he adds weight and strength to their various body characteristics as well as to their individual temperaments.”

According to the auction house, Emms liked to paint dogs housed in kennels in Hampshire, England. He frequently returned to the New Forest Hounds, the well-known local pack depicted in the 1896 painting, as a subject. Bonhams estimates that the hunting scene will fetch in the middle of 60,000 and 85,000, making it the most expensive work included in the sale.

However, not all the proposed articles necessarily have to break their piggy bank. For less than 500 each, dog lovers can own a sketch of a bulldog puppy, a Trio of porcelain figurines and a walking stick with a carved spaniel Topper.

Dogs are a popular motif for artists and have inspired David Hockney, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Earlier this year, an exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London paid tribute to this lasting bond by bringing together more than 50 works of canine art.

“The way our relationship with dogs — this inexplicable, affectionate bond — blends into art history is fascinating and reflects society,” curator Xavier Bray told BBC Culture’s Matthew Wilson in March.

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