Thomas Blinks

English setters

Oil on canvas: 14(h) x 18(w) in /

35.6(h) x 45.7(w) cm

Signed lower left: Tblinks

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BE 198

 

THOMAS BLINKS

Maidstone 1853 – 1910 St John’s Wood

 

English pointers

 

English setters

 

A pair, the former signed lower right: TBlinks;

the latter signed lower left: TBlinks

Oil on canvas: 14 x 18 in / 35.6 x 45.7 cm

Frame size: 25 x 29 in / 63.5 x 73.7 cm

 

Provenance:

Private collection, USA

 

Blinks’s painting shows two English setters, one orange and white, one white ticked with black, both characteristic of the nineteenth century breed. Setters, like spaniels (hence the name) derived from a type of Spanish hunting dog which is documented as early as 1335. Early sporting writers described them as ‘setting’ or ‘crouching’ spaniels, as opposed to ‘finding’ or ‘springing’ spaniels, which flushed game without pointing it. Dr John Caius, in his Treatise on English Dogs (1576) wrote of the characteristics of the setter: ‘Another sort of Dogges be there, serviceable for fowling, making no noise either with foote or with tounge, whiles they followe the game….When he approacheth neere to the place where the birde is, [the dog] layes him downe, and with a marcke of his pawes, betrayeth the place of the byrdes last abode’[5]. As the setter crouched down, the hunter moved stealthily forward and threw a net over the birds.

 

In 1624 some working setters were sent to James I by Louis XIII, to be used in conjunction with falcons. From the eighteenth century they were used in a similar way to pointers, to point game which a rough shooter walked up. The two most prominent English setter breeders of the early nineteenth century were Edward Laverack and RL Purcell Llewellin, from whose dogs most pedigree English setters descend. English setters were represented in the first recorded dog show in 1859 and at the first field trial in 1865.

 

THOMAS BLINKS

Maidstone 1853 – 1910 St John’s Wood

 

Thomas Blinks is best known for his hunting and racing scenes and dog pictures.  Despite paternal opposition to his early interest in art, and a fruitless apprenticeship with a tailor, Blinks finally followed his artistic leanings.  Although he received no formal training, his understanding of horse anatomy and action were learnt from observation at Tattersalls.

 

Blinks first exhibited at the Dudley Gallery in 1881, the Royal Society of British Artists in 1882, and regularly at the Royal Academy from 1883 to 1910.  His paintings are much admired for his ability to combine accuracy of observation with freedom of brushwork and a polished finish. Blinks was particularly good at conveying the pose and psychology of sporting dogs at work.

 

The work of Thomas Blinks is represented in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen; Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, and Preston Manor, Brighton.

 

 

[1] See William Secord, Dog Painting 1840-1940, Woodbridge 1992, p.149.

[2] See Louise Petrie-Hay, Gundogs: their History, Breeding and Training, London 1987, p.70.

[3] Vero Shaw, The Illustrated Book of the Dog, London 1890, p.396.

[4] Quoted in Petrie Hay, op. cit., p.72.

[5] Quoted in Shaw, op. cit., p.352.

SportingThomas Blinks