Queen Vic’s dog captured by Yarmouth artist
AN oil painting by a Great Yarmouth-born artist of Queen Victoria’s favourite dog is set to fetch up to �4,000 at an auction in America next month.
The picture of Sharp, by Charles Burton Barber – who was only 49 when he died in 1894 – is coming up for sale at Bonhams in New York on February 16.
It was once owned by Queen Victoria, and that is confirmed on the back of the picture by a Windsor Castle inventory stamp and another stamp recording it was the Queen’s Property.
When Barber died,his obituary on December 8, 1894, was headlined: Death of famous Yarmouth artist.
It reported:“Queen Victoria was one of Mr Barber’s best patrons. He painted hundreds of pictures for her and had many interviews with the Queen. He often went to Windsor or Osborne, and Her Majesty always came into the room where he was at work and had long talks with him, showing great knowledge of dogs and how to pose them.”
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Charles Burton Barber was born in Yarmouth in 1845. The 1851 Census confirms he and his family lived at The Quay, where his father, Charles senior, was a printer, bookseller and stationer, who employed a 19-year-old West Indian apprentice named Dinzey Burton.
Queen Victoria’s smooth-coated border collie Sharp, immortalised in oils by Barber, was not quite so sweet-natured.
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According to Bonhams: “Sharp was known as an ill-tempered dog, who frightened most of the royal entourage and who regularly fought other dogs.”
As Victoria notes in her diary on Wednesday September 6, 1869: ‘At five minutes to eleven rode off with Beatrice, good Sharp going with us and having occasional ‘collie-shangies’, (a Scottish word for quarrels or rows) with collies when we came near cottages.”
Bonhams art expert Laura Turnbull said: “At a time when the Queen needed companionship the most, Sharp was her trusted and closest friend, and the fact that his tomb sits to this day in the Queen’s personal and private garden (at Windsor Home Park)is tantamount to his importance in her life after the death of her beloved husband,Albert.”
Queen Victoria sent a representative to Charles Burton Barber’s funeral, with a wreath bearing the message: “A mark of admiration and regard from Victoria RI.”