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Doyle /Bonhams Dogs in Art
New York 11th February 2003 - London Preview

British artist Lilian Cheviot (active 1894 - 1930) is usually associated with ‘chocolate box’ studies of cute terriers or toy breeds but this detail from a political/patriotic study of a Bulldog and union flag, provocatively titled Wake up England represents another side to her talent. Estimated to realise $10,000-15,000 (£10,000) it is one of 261 lots entered in the Doyle/Bonhams sale New York sale on Tuesday February 11th.

by Paul Keevil

After leading the field for so many years with its innovative Dogs in Art themed auctions, which started back in 1984, Bonhams has seen many changes both within itself and with this sale in particular. The old and original firm of Bonhams was established in 1793 and a few years back it merged with a young upstart of a company, the auto auction firm of Brooks and became Bonhams/Brooks. Then more recently another merger took place with the equally old auction house of Phillips and the company was once again named plain old Bonhams.

This really charming study titled A Maltese on a Blue Cushion is by an unidentified artist from what the auctioneers call the Continental School. Measuring 10" x 14" it carries an estimate of $1,500-2,000 (lot 150)

With more and more of the paintings from the Dogs in Art sales going to buyers in the USA - and after falling totals in London - a move was made in 1999 to New York, to coincide with the annual Westminster Dog Show held each February at Madison Square Garden. For some time, Bonhams has been co-operating with the New York based William Doyle Gallery on a mutual promotional basis and they became the obvious choice to host the sale. Since then, the expansion of Bonhams has continued with absorption of the Butterfields auction house, which has sale rooms in Los Angeles and San Francisco and I can't help but wonder where this places Doyle's within the ever expanding Bonhams group of companies.

This year’s catalogue also shows a subtle change of emphasis as it is now called the Doyle/Bonhams Dog in Art, sale and for the first time the catalogue estimates are only in $US with no Stirling equivalent. A quick flick through the catalogue makes me think that more and more of the lots this year have actually been consigned from within the US. The sale consists of 261 lots with estimates ranging from $75- to $60,000. As was traditional at the London sales the first 50 lots are for small collectables, such as Bronzes, engravings, prints and miscellany.

There are a large number of Peke paintings in the sale, this study of Jero's Pu zin by British artist Robert C G Allen being one of the more unusual ($1,000-1,500) (lot 242)

There is an excellent spread of breeds and artists. Most of the big names are included, such as from the UK Landseer, The Earls, Thomas, George and Maud, Arthur Wardle and John Emms. Artists from Europe include Somon Simonsen, Ejnar Vindfeldt, Henriette Ronner-Knip, Carl Reichert and Conradyn Canaeus. And from the US, Gladys Emerson Cook, Morgan Dennis and Persis Kirmse.

One major disappointment was the distinct lack of paintings showing "working" dogs. There are no Collies or St Bernard's and only one GSD in the sale. There are however 17 separate paintings of Pekes, most of them named, showing that the breed must have kept the commission artists in business during the first half of the last century. Bonhams have also learnt that this is not the sale to place fine Foxhunting paintings in, these being much better suited to the themed Sporting sales which seem to have sprung up in the last few years.

Many British collectors I have spoken to over the last few years have been reluctant to place a bid on this sale now it has moved to New York, fearing huge extra charges, such as import duty and/or VAT plus shipping. In reality these should be no more than just a little above the usual charges for the London sale. If you are interested in a lot, the man to speak to in London is Charles O'Brien, at the Bonhams telephone number below.

Great Dane collectors will find this lot of great interest as it includes not one, but two paintings of named dogs by the little knows Geoffrey Williams. Illustrated is Verinda of Send. Also included is Susan of Sivoke. Could be the bargain of the sale at just $1,500-2,000
(lot 251)

It is difficult to single out individual lots in a sale such as this, but worthy of a mention is a picture by Maud Earl (1863-1943) of a Scottie bitch and her pup playing tug of war, signed and dated 1904 ($12,000-18,000). I was also rather taken by the pair of Gundog studies by British artist Thomas Blinks (1860-1912). Included together are two two separate coloured chalk studies on blue paper, the first showing Welsh Springers, a Pointer and an English Setter and the second showing Gordon, Red & White and English Setters ($3,000-5,000).

The front cover of the catalogue shows a painting by Philip Eustace Stretton (active 1884-1919) showing a brace of wire haired Terriers, possibly a Lakeland and a Wire, set against a background of sheaves of corn, guarding a wicker picnic basket and a stone ware cider jug. One of the more expensive lots in the sale at $25,000-35,000.

However top billing price wise goes to a rather mundane study of a Gillie with a Gordon and a Red & White Setter by John Emms (1843-1912) signed and dated (18'86) and measuring a respectable 36" x 28" (91 x 71). It carries the huge estimate of $40,000-60,000 and judging by how other paintings by this artist have sold in new York, including a world record for the artist, I would assume that the pre-sale estimate would be an accurate reflection of what will be achieved at the sale. It doesn't do anything for me however!

Andrew Scott Rankin (b. 1868) was a Scottish born Artist who only painted Scottish breeds and did several unusual and off beat studies as shown by this watercolour study of a cairn Terrier titled A Christmas Wait ($800-1,200) (lot 188)

The sale takes place at the William Doyle Galleries 175 East 87th Street, New York NY 10128, on Tuesday February 11th at 1pm (6pm GMT) with viewing on the three days prior to the sale. All absentee and telephone bids need to be in place by 5pm (US time) on the evening prior to the auction. Doyle's may be contacted direct by telephone on 001 212 427 2730 and fax on 001 212 369 0892 or via e-mail on The catalogue for this Dogs in Art sale can also be viewed online at:

As an innovation this year, "registered" users are now able to leave "absent" bids on line via the Doyle web site listed above. Internet bids have an extended deadline of 8am the morning of the sale. To register, click on "Buying and Selling" on the website homepage and then go to "Internet Bidding" and follow the instructions.

Catalogues (at £15- + p&p) and additional information on the sale may be obtained from Bonhams in London on 0171-393-3900 or via fax on 0171-393-3905, or via e-mail on If you have trouble viewing the sale on the Doyle's web site (as I did) then try the Bonhams one thus:

Top quality Leonberger depictions are few and far between and this outstanding
oil painting by the Dutch artist Conradyn Cunaeus (1828-1895) really is one of the best
I have ever seen. A snip at $10,000-15,000! (lot 203)

The very under rated Fanny Moody
(c.1861-1948) has four lots in the sale,
all of them Terriers.
This pastel study of two Wire Fox Terriers is the cheapest at $1,200-1,500 (lot 222)

This painting of two black Labradors by Arthur Wardle (1864-1949) was the original artwork for a picture postcard published by James Henderson & Sons Ltd from its J3-Sporting Dogs set, card number 2635. The painting would have been commissioned by Wardles publisher, Fred Mansell and then licensed the publishing rights to Henderson's. Used in the pre-sale publicity in the US, it carries a pre sale estimate of £18,000-24,000 (lot 223)