High quality paintings of dogs are highly coveted by art collectors and dog lovers alike - and not just that one of them playing pool which appears in so many British pubs (it's called The Hustler, by the way).
Reuben Ward Binks was born in Halliwell, Bolton in 1880. The son of a watchmaker, he was expected to follow his father into the trade but his talents led him in a different direction and he studied painting at Manchester Art School.
His route into his main career was provided by the Countess of Howe, who commissioned him to paint her sporting dogs. Delighted with his efforts she suggested that he specialise in canine paintings, and drew the attention of those likely to have the money and desire for such works to him.
Thirty one paintings by Binks (1880-1950) will feature in the 'Dogs in Show & Field: The Fine Art Sale' on 15th February 2012 at Bonhams New York saleroom.
"The selection of Ward Binks paintings we are lucky enough to have in this sale demonstrate what a good draughtsman he was and how he had the technical skill necessary to work at speed in order to convey the immediacy of the hunt and the fleeting moments that reveal character in his canine subjects." notes Sam Travers of Bonhams 19th Century Pictures department.
"He has become a much loved and much sought after artist and his links with major historical figures only underline the fact that he was one of the most gifted canine artists of his generation - the lots in our upcoming auction are a fine testament to this and we expect there to be lots of interest."
Binks became a favourite artist of the Royal family during his lifetime thanks to the Countess.
Royal Family members he painted for included King Edward VII (his terrier Caesar), Clumber spaniels for George V, and the Cairn terriers and retrievers owned by for Edward VIII and George VI respectively.
George V even presented him with a signed Van Dyke portrait out of gratitude.
The 31 works have pre-sale estimates ranging from $400-$3,000 and are expected to fetch more than $21,000 in total.
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