Circle of Samuel John Carter (1835-1892); ‘Sailor’; A Mid 19thC Oil on Canvas Study of a Border Collie

Origin: English
Period: Early/Mid-Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1860
Height: 37.5”
Width: 45.5”
Depth: 3” (all in frame)

Possibly by, but most certainly painted within the circle of Samuel John Carter (1835-1892);  in oils on canvas and of good sizeable proportions, the beautifully depicted border collie dog, shown laying alert within an interior, a chair and blanket to the background and a hunting whip and white gloves to the foreground, presented in the original superbly carved gilt gesso frame, the whole surviving from the third quarter of the nineteenth century.

The pictures canvas has craquelure and is a little dirty, though could obviously be cleaned if so desired. There are no damages or repairs. The frame has the typical losses that you expect with an original gesso frame of this age.

There are several paper labels verso;
W.Boswell & Son; Expert Purchases of Works of Art; Norwich
Leveton & Sons Norwich Fine Art Dealers
S.T. Townshend; Carver Gilder looking Glass and Picture Frame Manufacturer est. 1851
Borth frame and canvas with paper circular label N130.
And a hand written title; ‘Page; Oil Dog.’

Samuel John Carter was born in 1835 in the Keeper’s Cottage of the Manor House in Dunham, near Swaffham, Norfolk. Clearly this picture was bought and sold on at least two occasions in Norwich, thus in the same vicinity. Carter used Swaffham as the base for his work in the country, where he was in demand by landowners and local gentry. They would commission him to paint their prize farm animals, beloved pets, hunting horses and hounds as well as family groups. John Ruskin was a fan of his work. Howard, Carter’s youngest son said of his father; in an autobiographical account:

'We all inherited from our father an inborn faculty for drawing: he being an animal painter of no little fame, and one of the most powerful draughtsmen I ever knew. His knowledge of comparative anatomy and memory for form was matchless. He could depict from memory, accurately, any animal in action, fore-shortened or otherwise, with the greatest ease.'

The 18th and 19th centuries are the richest feeding ground for those interested in the history of the shepherd's dog. For one thing, taxonomy, the science of classification, flourished; and for another, naturalism, the observation of nature to gain knowledge, thrived and caught on among ordinary people.

A glorious painting by a splendid hand, of wonderful scale and desirable originality.