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William J. Webbe (British, 1827–about 1878), A White Terrier by a Mossy Bank with Flowers, glue-based paint and glazing on paper, 1871. 14 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. Gallery 32.
This Fall, the Artwork of the Week celebrates the Museum’s “Season of Portraiture.”
A portrait doesn’t necessarily have to be of a person. This bright-eyed terrier—evidently a much beloved pet—is alive with the personality of an individual animal. Webbe depicted seemingly every hair on the dog, every blade of grass, and every blossom with microscopic focus. The White English Terrier was established as an official breed in the early 1860s and became popular as a show dog. Renowned for its alertness, the breed quickly became extinct after 1895 when cropping of the ears was outlawed and interest in the breed waned.
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