If you thought animal art was restricted to creepy garage sales and tacky mantles, you are in for a Royal awakening.
Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, the alleged 'favorite niece' of J.D. Rockefeller, had a soft spot for pooches as a dog show judge and a breeder of championship canines. Years later her estate is auctioning off 150 of her pup-friendly works to help benefit the Saint Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center.
The mastermind behind these canine works of art is British artist Reuben Ward Binks. In his youth in the late 1800s, Binks showed artistic promise and verve, and won a competition at the tender age of 10 for his flower paintings. He found his calling, however, in canine portraits.
Binks' subject matter soon became obvious because of his love of dogs, and was encouraged by the Countess of Howe who commissioned him to do an entire series of her pups. Just a few years later Binks monopolized the doggy portrait business. He commented: "Nearly all the prominent dog owners of England have given me commissions ... Dr. Turton Price of Dundee, Scotland, whose 'Crombie' pointers and setters are so popular over here in America as well as elsewhere in the shooting and dog show worlds, has a large collection of my pictures." Binks was much loved by nobles and aspiring gentry.
The artist was soon painting Royal dogs left and right, from the Prince of Wales' Cairn Terriers, to the Duke of York's Labrador Retriever and even the Clumber Spaniels owned by King George V himself.
The emotion, the status, the fur texture, the drool... Binks' portraits capture the essence of his each and every subject. Check out the splendid selection of posh pups below.
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