Sir John Lavery R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856-1941) Dog on a chair 16 x 21 3/4 in. (40.5 x 55 cm.)

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Lot 205
Sir John Lavery R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A.
(1856-1941)
Dog on a chair 16 x 21 3/4 in. (40.5 x 55 cm.)

Sold for US$ 36,000 inc. premium

The Dog Sale

12 Feb 2008, 10:00 EST

New York

Sir John Lavery R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. (1856-1941)
Dog on a chair
signed, inscribed and dated 'SKETCH'D by J LAVERY/1882' (lower left)
oil on canvas
16 x 21 3/4 in. (40.5 x 55 cm.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    From the collection of the late David Donaldson, RSA, RP, RGI, LLD, DLitt (1916-1996).

    David Donaldson studied at the Glasgow school of Art from 1932-1937. He won the Directors Prize in 1936 and the following year was awarded the Haldane Traveling Scholarship. He took up part-time teaching at the School of Art and eventually became Head of the Department of Drawing and Painting. In 1977, he was appointed Painter and Limner to her Majesty the Queen, in Scotland. Chiefly regarded as a portrait painter, he exhibited widely and his work can be seen in many Scottish Galleries and is also in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen.

    During the 1880s, dogs featured frequently in Lavery’s work. In two of his most celebrated canvases painted at Grez-sur-Loing, watchful Greyhounds look out at the spectator while their preoccupied owners gaze offstage at unseen events. Although not the subject of the painting, these animals provide a vital clue to it's mood.

    A dog, probably a Cairn terrier, takes centre stage in Beg Sir!, (fig 1, unlocated) one of Lavery’s earliest tennis party pictures, painted at Paisley in 1885. This was followed by works such as 'He Won’t Bite You', and, in 1886, a portrait of Eva Fulton, the daughter of Lavery’s patron, seen tempting her pet Labrador with a biscuit. In the autumn of that year, Lavery returned to the Highland terrier in 'The Fall of the Leaf', (fig 2, unlocated), a portrait of a lady walking her Cairn, under the chestnut trees. This was shown to great acclaim at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts in February 1888, and was illustrated on the cover of Quiz Art Extras – No 1. Whilst unrelated to 'The Fall of the Leaf', the present ‘sketch’ probably represents the same animal. At that point it was a unique essay in dog portraiture, a genre of which Sam Fulton was the leading contemporary Scottish exponent.

    Fig 1 Beg Sir!, 1885, unlocated
    Fig 2 The Fall of the Leaf, 1886, unlocated, from Quiz Art Extra, 10 February 1888

    One other dog portrait is known – that of 'Kita', 1907 (formerly Richard Green Galleries) – although Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Greyhounds and Pekinese appear in portraits up until 1937 when Lord Duveen was painted with his two pedigree Wire-Haired Fox Terriers, at his palatial apartment in Fifth Avenue, New York. Dogs, for Lavery, expressed something of the personality of their masters and mistresses, and it was only in the present instance, and that of 1907, that they take on a personality of their own.

    The present picture has been catalogued by Professor McConkey on the basis of photographs.
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