A Border Collie and a Lamb

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 7.0 x 10.0 in/ 17.8 x 25.4 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

In this beautiful painting by Walter Hunt, the artist has depicted a rural idyll; a mountainous, verdant landscape filled with sheep. In the foreground the titular border collie and lamb are seen dominating the canvas. Hunt has skilfully painted the animated expression of the dog as it guards the precious lamb from any predators.

Catalogue No: 4912 Category:

The writer Marion Dixon wrote in 1901 of Hunt’s love of young furry things which gives us a view into his artistic process: ‘He keeps a great variety of animals to make endless notes, mental and otherwise of their various actions and expressions. He works very rapidly, never has models before him but studies the animals closely for weeks previously. He is a realist … but his animals live in an atmosphere of sunshine and are invariably of the sleek, handsome, coaxing kind.’


Burlington Paintings, London;
Private Collection, United States


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Walter Hunt was born into a family of artists in 1861. His father was the genre painter Charles Hunt Jnr and his mother was Anne Sarah Kilbee. He was born in Fulham, London and was one of eight children including Edgar Hunt (1876-1955), Reuben Hunt (b.1858) and Claude Hunt (1863-1949). He was also the grandson of Charles Hunt (1803-1877). Walter received his artistic tutelage from his father and he excelled in painting anecdotal farmyard scenes, particularly of calves, chickens, pigeons, horses, ducks and dogs.


Walter Hunt later resided in Wandsworth, London and exhibited some of his paintings at the Royal Academy from 1881 including works named ‘Best of Friends’ and ‘Twins’. His 1886 exhibit called ‘Overmatched’ was singled out by the Times reviewer as one of the ‘cleverest’ pictures in the exhibition. The Tate also houses ‘Dog in the Manger’ which was bought in 1885 by The Chantrey Fund Bequest establishing his reputation as one of the finest animal painters of his generation.


His works can now be found in museums and collections across the UK, including the Russel Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth and the Leeds Art Gallery in Leeds.