Philip Reinagle, R.A. (1749-1833)
A prize greyhound in an extensive landscape
signed and dated 'P.Reinagle./1796' (lower centre)
oil on canvas
51 x 71 in. (131.5 x 181 cm.)
The Countess of Yarborough, Edmonthorpe Hall.
Wyndham Law, Kent Lodge, Roehampton (by 1933).
Anonymous sale, Christie's, 18 November 1960, lot 111 (sold 80 gns.).
E.C. Ash, The Book of the Greyhound, 1933, in the Author's preface.

Lot Essay

E.C. Ash (op.cit.) records

"Mr Wyndham Law of Kent Lodge Roehampton has in his collection, a remarkable picture of great beauty, painted and signed by Reinagle, of a white Greyhound with black markings, which on the canvas bears the notice, the writing being of some considerable age, that the dog is Snowball the property of Major Topham. This picture is 54 x 72 inches and was at one time in the collection of the Countess of Yarborough at Edmonthorpe Hall and is claimed to have been the one found in Topham's home forty or fifty years ago. It is a most interesting discovery, for Chalon shows Snowball as a black dog and the writers of the time describe the dog to be black. Reinagle painted 'Mayor' Snowball's full brother for Col. Thornton. Did he also paint Snowball for Major Topham? Did Chalon and the writers of the time mislead us?"

Snowball is indeed recorded as being black, and it seems most unlikely that Chalon was incorrect in showing him as such. Thus the identification of the greyhound as Snowball, which the plaque on the frame still suggests, appears erroneous. Nevertheless, a work on this scale would only have been commissioned for a particularly highly-prized animal it is unfortunate that, despite the sport having been immensely popular, there are so few records of greyhounds prior to 1800.

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