Overtly sentimental dog pictures, often depicting baskets of puppies or fluffy pets bedecked with ribbons, can appear to modern eyes as rather mawkish and insipid. To the Victorians, however, these idealized representations were enchanting. Amongst the sentimental dog artists most popular today are William Henry Hamilton Trood, Fanny Moody and Lilian Cheviot. The renewed enthusiasm for dog subjects in recent years can no longer be solely ascribed to our national love of animals, since dog pictures now find an internationally appreciative audience, with Japanese and American buyers showing particular keenness at the top end of the market. Dog subjects are an integral part of the traditional styles in painting and interior decoration so favoured today, and many collectors enjoy the lively element introduced by an animal subject. Cows, sheep and other animals, both wild and domestic, are all sought-after but the dog as the creature closest to man has always been especially coveted. Compared with portraits of people, dog portraits are less confrontational: in many ways, it is easier to live with a portrait of a dog than with a portrait of a human being.
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