Portrait of Two Hunting Dogs by Colin Graeme, in Magnificent Antique Frame - image 1 of 7

The authors of several artist reference books agree that the quality of Colin Graeme’s paintings often depended on the amount of drink he consumed. This drink problem “probably accounts for the variations in quality and content,” writes Sally Mitchell, author of “The Dictionary of Equestrian Artists,” and who includes an illustration of one of his works in her book. William Secord, in his “Dog Painting: 1840-1940,” has two illustrations of Graeme’s dog paintings, noting that “(h)e had a good understanding of anatomy and a painterly technique.” Fortunately, we have in this painting a work that he did on one of his good days; a very good day, indeed.

My references tell me that the artist was born either in 1855 or 1859 in Argyle, Scotland, but he thereafter mainly lived in Sheffield in the north of England, and the city museum there holds some of his works. He was taught in the studio of his father, Robert Henry Roe, and he had two brothers who also worked as professional artists. There has been some confusion about this artist’s name; for example, he is listed separately in “Sporting Artists: 1650-1950" as Colin Graeme and Colin Graeme Roe. Rumor has it that he took to leaving off his last name because of family disputes, but there is also the more prosaic reason that he simply wished to distinguish himself from all the other Roe family artists.

When it comes to this artist’s work, it has been said that “the eyes have it.” I’ve always loved Graeme’s work, but I recognize that his style of sentimentally exaggerating the eyes of his subjects is something that you either do not appreciate or you love madly.

This double portrait, depicting two setters, one Irish and the other a Gordon, is certainly Colin Graeme at his best. Both dogs exude majestic presences. They are finely painted with brush strokes that show their coats to their best advantage. The faces are beautifully created and offer insight into the personalities of each. Their eyes possess the artist’s trademark soulful look. These dogs are simply mesmerizing.

The deep blue sky of the background harmonizes well with the dogs’ colorings as well as the bit of fall landscape on the left side.

It is fully signed, Colin Graeme, in the lower left corner in a lighter paint within the darker russet and brown of the fall foliage of Scotland. It is dated 2002.

The painting is housed in a very impressive, wide and very decorative wood and gesso frame that may be the original. There are ribbon-like embellishments in each corner and wonderful sets of three beads that finish off the decorative work. This fine frame perfectly sets off its magnificent content.

The painting has been professionally cleaned at some time. The frame is in excellent condition overall for its age and type. There has been some minor restoration on the frame and there is a small piece of gesso missing in one place.

It measures 21-¾ inches wide by 23-5/8 inches high, including the frame.


Perry-Joyce Fine Arts

Portrait of Two Hunting Dogs by Colin Graeme, in Magnificent Antique Frame

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