A Wonderful Pair of c.1885 Charcoal Portraits of Anthropomorphised Hounds

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1885
The Portraits: 13.5” x 9.25” each
In Frames: 16.75” x 12.5” each

The wonderfully imagined nineteenth century English School charcoal drawings each being a shoulder length portrait of an anthropomorphised hound, one, a foxhound wearing a clerical collar, the other a Pomeranian and wearing a top hat and monocle, each signed for John Telford(?) and dated to 1885 and framed and glazed.

Although these pictures have not been inspected out of their frames, there is some light overall discolouration and evidence of earlier foxing, otherwise they appear in reasonably good overall condition. The frames are Mid-20thC and are nice and simple though of good quality with soft green slips with gilt bordering. To the reverse of each there is framers label for Eric Miskin of Putney London SW15.

The execution of the portraits is very good which makes not being able to find information on the artist a little bemusing. This may be because we cannot quite distinguish the first three leters of the surname of the artist, Telford being a possibility but so could Talford, and the first letter could well be a J rather than a T. More research therefore is required here and could prove fruitful.

The hounds have differing expressions; one of guilt and one of superiority, and the skill involved in depicting them in this way is wonderful. The detail is high and the level of dexterity equally thus.

Dated to 1885, this year in England saw professional football being legalized, Irish terrorists damaging Westminster Hall and the Tower of London with dynamite and women being permitted to take the University of Oxford entrance examination for the first time.

Exert from Dean Spanley:

“It's often occurred to me that to pull a dog away from a lamppost is akin to seizing a scholar in the British Museum by the scruff of his neck and dragging him away from his studies. Although all animals have their specific awareness of the Godhead, the dog is, by virtue of his singular relationship with all mankind, unique. What about cats? The dog amplifies whilst the cat diminishes man's estimation of himself.”