Canines of The Art World: Herbert William Weekes’ “on Guard (the Squabble)” (1878)

This painting is another favorite of mine that was done by Herbert William Weekes.

Canines of The Art World: Herbert William Weekes’ “on Guard (the Squabble)” (1878)

The best part of this painting is that you can tell he had spent quite a bit of time on a farm, and is really good at telling stories in his work. In this particular painting, I imagine two possible stories. One is that the puppy’s curiosity caused him to wander too far and alerted some geese that were definitely not too fond of having him around. The other imaginary story is that the puppy had been “guarding” some items that his owner had left behind, and just so happened to be in the way of the geese’ path to their favorite spot. I’m sure there’s plenty of other ways to look at this painting, but no doubt however you look at it, it’s a really fun and cute scene.

The artist who painted this was from London, and was pretty famous for his paintings of animals and scenes from the countryside, which you could tell from his paintings that he definitely had a soft spot for. He grew up in a pretty artistic family, with at least two of his brothers being painters and his father being a sculptor. Even later when he married, his wife was also an artist.

But the cool thing about Herbert was that he was one of the few artists around that time to paint animals with so much personality and human-like situations. Around that time animals were usually only ever used for kind of props in paintings, so Herbert’s unique take became pretty popular quite easily. However, he was not the only one who ever painted animals like that. He very much influenced by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, who also did some amazing work with animal subjects (though in my opinion, Sir Edwin’s paintings were always quite dramatic, and gave off a completely different feel from Herbert’s work.

If you’re ever in the mood to check out some art, I would definitely recommend looking up some of his work (especially the ones with puppies). I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Till later, have a fantastic time!

Anna Ito

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