A Boy and Girl with Hounds
Research by Marjorie Gregson
Acc No 94
Artist Richard Ansdell & William Powell Frith
Artist dates Ansdell 1815-1885, Frith 1819-1909
Medium Oil on canvas
Size 91.4 x 68.6 cm
Date painted 1860
Donor Mrs Wilson and Mrs Morgan
Date donated Unknown
Although this painting is signed it has been rejected as an Ansdell by his great great grand-daughter, Sarah Kellam.
One can see why it has been attributed to these two artists as they often collaborated to produce such paintings as The Gamekeeper’s Daughter, A Dream of the Future and The Pet Fawn, all of which depict figures and dogs, as in this picture.
Frith painted figures in scenes of contemporary life. His scenes were often panoramic and carefully observed and he liked to portray people in everyday situations.
Ansdell was renowned for his skilful painting of domestic animals, scenes of sporting life, and rural themes with shepherds in settings such as the Scottish Highlands.
His animals were so well observed that he was often compared to the great animal artist, Landseer. Perhaps the painting has been disputed because the quality of the artwork is not as fine as that in their other collaborations? Neither the painting of the dogs, nor that of the three figures, enhance the reputation of these two accomplished artists.
We have been advised by Fylde Borough Council that Christies have suggested this painting may be by Alfred Morris, a genre painter who was mostly recognised for his landscapes, often featuring sheep. However, A Boy and Girl with Hounds is not typical of his work which mainly shows animals, painted in great detail, in their natural habitat. Figures were not part of his compositions.