Masterwork by Queen Victoria's Favourite Animal Painter At Bonhams 19th Century Art Sale

The Victorian genre artist Charles Barber (1845-1894) was not yet 50 when he died but in his short life he had established himself as the finest painter of animals in Britain. A great favourite of Queen Victoria, he painted her dogs and children many times and was appointed the Queen's Painter of Animals in succession to Sir Edwin Landseer in 1873. One of Barber's most satisfying paintings – Only a Shower – is among the highlights of Bonhams 89-lot 19th Century and British Impressionist Art sale in London on Wednesday 22 September. It is estimated at £70,000-100,000.

Only a Shower by Charles Barber depicts a young girl staring wistfully out of a window at the rain. She is hoping to go riding and is surrounded by her pet dogs who seem to share her frustration at being cooped up. In addition to his meticulous attention to detail and technical prowess, Barber had the rare gift of making his dogs look like real animals and not sentimentalised projections of human emotions. His work was much admired and not only by High Society; it was extremely popular with the general public and many of his paintings hung as prints in middle class homes.

Bonhams Head of 19th Century Art Charles O'Brien said: "Only a Shower is an exceptional example of Victorian genre and a prime example of Barber at his best. It is brilliantly rendered down to the fine details on the objects that adorn the table and the artist's proficiency at painting animals is self-evident. They are portrayed with great skill and anatomical accuracy, lending a sense of realism to the scene."


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