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Animals were a popular subject with Briton Riviere, often, as in this example, sentimental, rather humanised pictures of dogs. He is quoted as saying in an interview “I have always been a great lover of dogs ... However you can never paint a dog unless you are fond of it”. And here is a very fond picture of a pug puppy fascinated by and staring intently at a ticking pocket watch with an elaborate gold chain. The comic perplexity of the puppy is cleverly rendered.

Merton considered Riviere to be “the most distinguished English artist in the portrayal of animals” and the successor to Edwin Landseer. He owned several of Riviere’s work but thought this one “perhaps the one he appreciated most as h...

Oil on Canvas
36.5 x 48.0cm
BORGM 01870
Image and text © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, 2021

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