An Early Victorian English Provincial School Oil on Panel Study of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Collection of Mike Handford, 'Hillsleigh', Burford, Oxfordshire
Date: c.1840
Height: 21.5"
Depth: 2”
Width: 25.5" (in frame)

The delightfully executed oil on canvas, painted in the provincial style, depicting a standing tricolour cavalier King Charles Spaniel amongst a rural landscape with woodland and prominent clouds, in oils on paper(?) and laid to panel, the whole being uncleaned and untouched and presented in a black painted moulded frame with gilded inner slip and surviving from the very early Victorian period.

The painting is apparently unsigned and in un-cleaned and un-restored condition. The oils are possibly on paper with a vert thick ground layer. There is a prominent network of craquelure as photographed. The frame and backboards are presumed later. Obviously with a clean and restoration it would turn into a different beast, but it is rather enchanting as it is. This painting was part of Mike Handford’s collection, which was amassed over a period of over 40 years in his Burford house.

Painted in the naïve style the animal has been depicted with a friendly and calm demeanour. The Victorians adored dogs, which were by far the most popular domestic pet of the era, led by their much-esteemed Queen Victoria, the English found comfort from daily toil by returning home to their favourite pet.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel wears his connection to British history in his breed's name. Cavaliers are the best of two worlds, combining the gentle attentiveness of a toy breed with the verve and athleticism of a sporting spaniel. The Cavalier's all-around beauty, regal grace, and even temper mark him as one of dogdom's noblemen. Cavaliers may be aristocrats, but they gladly descend from their royal high horse for a backyard frolic or a squirrel chase.

The subject matter and style here is very much in demand, and if leaving as is, it proves rather surreal.