A Good Day Out Looking at Paintings of Dogs

Now a famous man once said “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like, and it’s dogs”. And if you agree, then you’ll have a great day out at Chatsworth House. Personally, I was not disappointed by my trip to Chatsworth, whose art collection has a somewhat doggie focus.

First of all was this stunning Landseer, Trial by Jury, which features a number of dogs reading and having a conversation (one also wears glasses, but has sadly taken them off).

p1040785Landseer intended this piece to be a satire of the British legal system, but I enjoy it as a wonderful piece of canine portraiture. So did the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who purchased this painting in 1840 and commissioned the artist to add in his own brown and white pet spaniel, Bony, behind the greyhound to the left of the arm chair.

On the opposite side of the entrance hall is Scene in the Olden Time at Bolton Abbey, where we get to see what the hunting dogs have done. Notice one looking particularly apologetic on the left hand side? It’s Landseer’s ability to imbue animals with emotional countenances that had such an influence on the way that Disney drew its animals.

1834c-scene-in-the-olden-time-at-bolton-abbey-oil-on-canvas-155-x-193-cm-chatsworth-house-derbyshire-ukOnce you start walking through Chatsworth, there are so many gorgeous paintings everywhere. But dogs keep cropping up. I think that perhaps one of the Dukes had a soft spot for our canine friends, and he may have purchased a few paintings in his time.

p1040815Every so often, brown and white spaniels appear in paintings. I like to think that this is the Duke’s faithful dog Bony.


All in all, a lovely stroll through a fabulous art collection. And if you like paintings of dogs, then you’re going to have a great day. I did 🙂



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