'Surely, Surely, Slumber is more sweet than Toil' signed 'Maud Earl' in pencil (lower left) oil on canvas 46 x 61cm (18 1/8 x 24in).
LITERATURE: Reproduced in Hounds and Gundogs, No. 19.
The two spaniels depicted are Champion Rose of Hardwick and Brave of Hardwick and both were owned by Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, wife of Henry Pelham-Clinton, the 7th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The Duchess (1872-1955) was well-known for her involvement in the dog world and was a show judge as well as a breeder who influenced the Borzoi and Wire Fox Terrier breeds as well as Clumber Spaniels.
Clumbers are the largest type of spaniels and the early history of the breed is uncertain. One theory put forward is that they originally came from France and the Duc de Noailles gave his kennel to the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire at the time of the French Revolution.
The spaniels definitely get their name from the Duke's ancestral home and his gamekeeper, William Mansell is credited with their development and improvement. They proved popular with the monarchy with Queen Victoria describing them in her diary as 'such dear, nice dogs' and King Edward VII breeding them at Sandringham.
Maud Earl (1864-1943) was an eminent British-American artist known for her canine paintings. Her father, uncle and brother were also successful animal painters, and it was her father, George, who was her first teacher. Born in London, she studied at the Royal Female School of Art and later exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy. She became famous at a time when women were not expected to make their living through working as an artist, but she developed a select clientele and counted Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra amongst her patrons. In 1916 she emigrated to New York City.