Portrait of a Large Dog

Portrait of a Large Dog is an oil painting depicting a dingo (Canis lupus dingo) by George Stubbs (August 25, 1724 - July 10, 1806).[2] It is part of the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.[3] The painting and The Kongouro from New Holland were the first Western paintings of Australian mammals and, in fact, the first time most Europeans had ever seen these living creatures.[4]

Portrait of a Large Dog
George Stubbs, A portrait of a large Dog from New Holland (Dingo), 1772.jpg
ArtistGeorge Stubbs[1]
TypeOil painting
Dimensions61 cm × 71 cm (24 in × 28 in)
LocationNational Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

The oil painting was commissioned by Joseph Banks based on his observations of dingoes on the east coast of Australia in 1770 during Lieutenant James Cook's first voyage of discovery. No specimen was collected for use as a subject, unlike its companion painting The Kongouro from New Holland, and it is seen as a fairly general depiction of a dingo, soon superseded by more accurate depictions in 1789. The two works were the only paintings that Stubbs, highly regarded in the genre, did not draw from a live subject, although it is one of the few oil paintings to present a scientific specimen.[5]

It was first exhibited by the Society of Artists in London in 1773 together with his painting of a kangaroo, The Kongouro from New Holland. The painting had been on view in recent years at Parham House in West Sussex during public openings.[5]

In 2012, Portrait of a Large Dog and The Kongouro from New Holland were purchased together at auction for 9.3 million Australian dollars by an undisclosed buyer.[6] An application to take them to Australia was refused by the Department of Culture on the grounds of their national importance. Sir David Attenborough, who had led a campaign to keep both portraits in Britain remarked that it was "exciting news that these two pictures, so important in the history of zoological discovery, are to remain where they were commissioned and painted".[6] The National Gallery of Australia had expressed a strong desire to purchase the portraits.[6] In November 2013 it was announced that a £1.5million donation from the Eyal Ofer Family Foundation will enable the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London to acquire the two paintings.[7]


  1. ^ Nicholas H. J. Hall (2000). Fearful Symmetry - George Stubbs: Painter of the English Enlightenment ; [accompanies an Exhibition from January 21 to February 28, 2000 in New York]. Hall & Knight Limited.
  2. ^ George Egerton (1 March 1986). George Stubbs 1724-1806. Salem House. ISBN 978-0-88162-174-7.
  3. ^ "Stubbs saved for the nation". National Maritime Museum. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013.
  4. ^ David Bainbridge (9 October 2018). Stripped Bare: The Art of Animal Anatomy. Princeton University Press. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-0-691-18142-4.
  5. ^ a b "Case 13 2012/13:two paintings by George Stubbs, The Kongouro from New Holland (The Kangaroo) and Portrait of a Large Dog (The Dingo) – Expert adviser's statement" (PDF). Arts Council. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Malvern, Jack. "Australia loses tussle over iconic art works after campaign to keep them in Britain". The Australian. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  7. ^ http://www.rmg.co.uk/about/press/stubbs-kangaroo-and-dingo-paintings-saved-for-the-nation