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Now Now Pet! - Animal Paintings for Sale

Daniel Goddard considers the subject of animal paintings while letting slip his theory that knowing your 'favourites' is good for your soul and revealing how smitten his colleague Rachel Littlewood is with her new kitten!

The first of a pair of paintings of kittens by Frederick French (1883-1916) that
    sold in our salerooms for £480 in April 2014 (FS22/396).

The first of a pair of paintings of kittens by Frederick French (1883-1916) that sold in our salerooms for £480 in April 2014 (FS22/396).

Our Operations Director, Rachel Littlewood, has just acquired a fluffy new kitten and she is completely smitten by the said kitten: screensaver, kitten T-shirt, kitten coffee mug, kitten sun visor for car 'Rach... loves... Kitty'. Slight exaggeration, but you get the idea!

The second painting of kittens by Frederick French (1883-1916) that sold in our
        salerooms for £480 in April 2014 (FS22/396).

The second painting of kittens by Frederick French (1883-1916) that sold in our salerooms for £480 in April 2014 (FS22/396).

I know this because we were chatting about our favourite things and I have a theory that it is good for the soul to know your favourites. Often when you ask someone 'what is your favourite ... colour, fruit, animal?' ... they don't know and have to think about it. Not me, I have spent a long time working it out, and it makes me happy.

And Rachel knows hers too. When the subject of animals came up, quick as a flash out came her mobile with a photograph of the said kitten: big eyes, soft fluffy ears, gossamer fur, pink nose, looking cute on the shiny screen. I'm not a big cat person myself, but we do have a family dog - and it is quite clear that, mostly, we all do like pets.

The first of two continental paintings of a parakeet and two pug dogs by Julius Hartung aka Carl
        Reichert (1836-1918), which sold in our Exeter salerooms for £1,500 (FS22/393).

The first of two continental paintings of a parakeet and two pug dogs by Julius Hartung aka Carl Reichert (1836-1918), which sold as a pair in our Exeter salerooms for £1,500 (FS22/393).

The second animal painting by Julius Hartung aka Carl Reichert (1836-1918) depicting
        the same pug dogs and parakeet (FS22/393).

The second animal painting by Julius Hartung aka Carl Reichert (1836-1918) depicting the same pug dogs and parakeet (FS22/393).

With the exception of equestrian painting, George Stubbs or Alfred Munnings for example, animal painting is not regarded as one of the elite genre. Animals do appear, of course, in religious and historical paintings, but animals depicted as pets in portrait form is much less serious, possibly even a bit kitsch.

The heyday of kitsch animal painting was during the late Victorian and Edwardian period when you could have your pet painted as a civilised sign of your love for A four legged friend.

We recently sold a pair of paintings of six very camp kittens by Frederick French (1883-1916) (FS22/396) for £480 and equally camp and decorative was a pair of Continental paintings of Parakeets and Pug Dogs (FS22/393), which made £1,500.

Our Summer 2014 Fine Art Auction has more emphasis on dogs than cats with this rather wonderful St Bernard called 'Luna' (FS23/284).

Our Summer 2014 Fine Art Auction has more emphasis on dogs than cats with this rather wonderful St Bernard called 'Luna' (FS23/284).

In the July 2014 sale, the emphasis is more on dog paintings and this includes a wonderful St Bernard called Luna (FS23/284). Luna is depicted in a kennel with the oak and gilt frame of the painting constructed to form a kennel doorway. We know little about the unknown Victorian artist, but it's a mark of how treasured Luna was that the frame is mounted with A plaque inscribed 'Luna (1873-1881) by Thor out of Jura'.

The Summer 2014 Fine Art Auction also features an animal painting by Robert Morley
        (1857-1941) of a West Highland terrier and a Dandie Dinmont terrier (FS23/285),
        which carries a pre-sale estimate of £1,200-£1,800.

The Summer 2014 Fine Art Auction also features an animal painting by Robert Morley (1857-1941) of a West Highland terrier and a Dandie Dinmont terrier (FS23/285), which carries a pre-sale estimate of £1,200-£1,800.

In the same July sale is another oil painting of dogs titled Companions (FS22/285). This depicts a West Highland terrier and a Dandie Dinmont terrier who are clearly best friends. The painting is by Robert Morley and is estimated at £1,200-£1,800.

So, I do like dogs, but my favourite animal – do you know yours? – is a Zebra, and for the record - favourite colour: Yellow, favourite fruit: Raspberry, favourite vegetable: Pea – maybe I need to get out more!

The snap of the 'said kitten' that kick-started this article!

The snap of the 'said kitten' that kick-started this article!

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  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Animal Pictures

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