For the seventh edition in their Hidden Gems series, Liss Llewellyn are delighted to unveil Beauty and the Beast an online exhibition dedicated to animals in Modern British Art.
With the discovery of cave paintings in sites such as Lascaux or the Creswell Crags, animals are now considered the earliest known subject of Western Art. Indeed, many artists throughout history have specialised in animal art, and many are now indelibly linked with their depiction of certain species or pets.
Titian was well-known as a painter of dogs (here caricatured by Douglas Percy Bliss); so much so that the Papillon the breed most associated with his work is commonly referred to as a Titian Spaniel. Dogs in this exhibition are also shown in more conventional, domestic settings. They are the beloved pets of their artist masters; as in the etched portrait of Robert Austins Dalmatian, Ling, Albert de Belleroches Lance, or Gladys Hynes Siamese Cat.
Birds also feature in this menagerie. There is Anna Zinkeisens study of a medieval falcon for her mural at the Refectory Club, Mayfair, while the curiously human expression of Winifred Knights Owl recalls the Mystic Lamb of Jan van Eycks Ghent Altarpiece. Elsewhere, the work of two friends and fellow War Artists sharply contrast. Richard Carline was posted to the Middle East during WWI, and painted his Sacred Cows following a stint in India shortly afterwards. No such sign of reverence can be seen in Gilbert Spencers Protective Covering, which shows the Grasmere Home Guard using the local sheep as a defensive screen.