Do you reckon you love your dog the most? Are you in possession of the most heckin’ good boy around? Well, there’s some darn strong competition popping up in the form of London’s latest art exhibition. Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney, brings together a wonderful collection of doggos and floofs who have been commemorated in art forms ranging from paintings to sculpture, drawings, and even taxidermy.
The exhibition, which is now showing at the Wallace Collection until October 15, 2023, brings together works from the likes of (as the name might suggest) Thomas Gainsborough, David Hockney, and more. The works trace humankind’s dog-loving history centuries into the past, with devoted pooches commemorated as far back as the 1700’s.
What’s that? You thought an intense love and celebration of your doggy pals was a modern phenomenon? Far from it. In fact, doggy companions are even represented in the earliest cave paintings alongside humans. As long as we’ve had dogs by our side, we’ve been letting as many people as possible know about our love for them. It’s a unique bond, between humans and canines, that the Portraits of Dogs exhibition documents, from antiquity to the 21st century.
But what might be surprising is that the love of puppy portraits may be at its strongest in the UK. According to the Wallace Collection, “[more] than any other nationality perhaps, the British have both commissioned and collected portraits of dogs.”
Portraits of Dogs is the kind of art exhibition that makes even the most casual of museum-goers seem like a seasoned pro. We’ll all be lingering on each painting as we take in all the details, hands clasped behind our backs as we murmur appreciatively. There may be a few more “aww”s or “how cute”s than you would hear at the Tate though. But who can blame anyone if they get a bit overwhelmed when they enter a room FULL of dog portraits?
Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney is on show at The Wallace Collection from March 29-October 15, 2023. Find out more and grab your tickets here.
Also published on Medium.