James Darley is famous for his working Clumbers competing (and winning) at the higher ends of the very elite sport of field trials in the UK, and also for his lovely Clumber prints, and he has just released a new one, and this is one of my all time favourite Clumber pieces!
Here is a little bit of what James says, “Dating from 1888, The New Keeper was painted exactly 100 years after the work that marks the first evidence of Clumbers in England, The Return from Shooting by Francis Wheatley. The painting is by Charles Burton Barber. He was the artist whose pictures were used in many of the most familiar Pears soap advertising posters tenderly portraying children with dogs or cats.
Barber’s scene of Clumbers joining the boy’s game of make-believe was almost certainly a commissioned work by the owner of an estate big enough to warrant such a sizeable kennel. There, the dogs would have been worked in teams to move game to holding coverts (called “blanking in”), the birds then driven towards standing guns, as well as hunted singly and in pairs and shot over as they are today.
Attempts to trace the location have not yet borne fruit – so if you recognise the place, or the keeper’s uniform, do let me know.
The picture is a hitherto little-known work by an acclaimed artist whose chief patron was Queen Victoria; she commissioned him to paint her favourite dogs for almost 25 years. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and won numerous accolades. With a clue from another Clumber owner, this oil painting was traced to the storeroom of an obscure municipal gallery in the English Midlands. Under exclusive arrangements, it has now been reproduced, to a very high standard that faithfully replicates the original work in all its quality.
“The New Keeper is now available, in an edition limited to 500 hand-numbered prints, size 18 x 22½ in. (45 x 57 cm.), including a 2 – 2½ in. (5½ – 7 cm.) border. Price is £44, plus a delivery charge of £5.50 irrespective of destination (UK, Europe or elsewhere overseas) or the number of prints ordered. This price is actually lower than that of Venaticus Collection prints ten or more years ago, and reflects the reduced costs of new printing technology and online marketing, and freedom from Value Added Tax. Orders and payments can only be accepted online: go to www.venaticus.co.uk/clumbers for full details and instructions. You will also find other prints of Clumbers still available there, as well as prints of other working breeds.”
And despite the fact my Clumber wall is full, I am adding this new edition of this fabulous artwork to my collection. The painting was featured a number of times in magazines in the past so it may be familiar, but it still retains its impeccable charm
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