Portraits of Dogs from Gainsborough to Hockney

20 March 2023 to 15 October 2023 Hertford House

Portraits of Dogs from Gainsborough to Hockney' at The Wallace Collection
From 29 March, the Wallace Collection will open Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney, through carefully selected paintings, sculptures, drawings, works of art and even taxidermy, the exhibition highlights the unique bond between humans and their canine companions.

Dog portraiture developed as an artistic genre contemporaneously with its human counterpart – dogs are represented in the earliest cave paintings alongside humans – and it flourished, particularly in Britain, from the seventeenth century onwards. More than any other nationality perhaps, the British have both commissioned and collected portraits of dogs. Bringing over 50 works of art to Hertford House, Portraits of Dogs presents a broad range of portraiture showing dogs in all their different shapes and sizes, with each painter or sculptor challenging themselves how best to represent mankind’s most faithful and fearless friend.

The earliest example will be a late first-century Roman marble sculpture of two greyhounds, on loan from the British Museum. Known as the Townley Greyhounds. Another highlight of the exhibition is a metalpoint drawing made in c. 1490–95 (National Galleries of Scotland) by Leonardo da Vinci, which focuses intently on a left forepaw, possibly that of a deerhound.

The connection between dogs and royalty also forms a key part of the exhibition, not least Queen Victoria’s love for spaniels. From a touching portrait of her Sussex spaniel, Tilco, painted by Landseer in 1838 (National Trust), to pencil and watercolour sketches she made of her other dogs (Royal Collection Trust).

Finally, a suite of vivid paintings from 1995 share a series of affectionate vignettes of David Hockney’s dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie. They are a touching testament to the role the dogs played in his life from the moment he adopted them in 1987.


Further Information: please visit the website HERE