Near the finish, 1885
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting

Arthur Wardle

English ( b.1864 - d.1949 )

Near the finish, 1885

  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed & dated 1885 lower left

Image size 19.3 inches x 29.13 inches ( 49cm x 74cm )
Frame size 24.6 inches x 34.3 inches ( 62.5cm x 87cm )


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Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting by Arthur Wardle dated 1885.
The painting is presented and supplied in a mid 20th century frame. The painted surfaces and canvas have benefitted from some restoration including two small hole repairs, cleaning and conservation, which took place in 2017 on our instructions. The repairs are permanent and have been professionally performed by a recognized conservation restorer. The repairs are not visible from the front but are evident on the rear.
The painting is signed and dated lower left.

Arthur Wardle was a highly successful artist whose works continue to be sought after and have been widely reproduced on postcards, books, cigarette cards, calendars and even boxes of chocolates. He also produced the famous WW1 recruitment poster ‘The Empire needs Men!’. He was largely self-taught and received no academic training, yet became one of the pre-eminent animal and sporting painters of his generation. He is particularly well-known for his paintings of dogs.

Born in London, Wardle was just sixteen when he had his first piece displayed at the Royal Academy. This was a study of cattle by the River Thames, and was a good indication of what was to be a lifelong interest in painting animals.

He painted a variety of animal subjects with equal skill but his work may be divided into mythical, domestic and exotic. He visited London zoo regularly where he would tirelessly sketch on the spot studies of exotic animals and birds from overseas, such as elephants, leopards, polar bears and tigers, and these would prove highly inspirational and significant subjects for his large mythological scenes, which basically sealed his reputation as an outstanding animal artist as well as a painter of historical subjects. His sporting scenes are now particularly valued. He is considered equally proficient in oils, watercolours and pastels.

In 1880 Wardle lived in Oakley Square, Camden, but artistic success enabled him to move to the more fashionable 34 Alma Square in St John's Wood by 1892. By 1936 Wardle had moved to West London.

Wardle was elected to the Pastel Society in 1911 and became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1922. In 1931 he held his first one-man exhibition at the Fine Art Society and in 1935 the Vicar’s Gallery put on an exhibition of his work. He exhibited 21 works at the Royal Academy from 1880-1935, and more than 100 up to 1936. He also exhibited at the other principal British galleries and in Paris.

Wardle undertook many commissions for owners of pure bred dogs. Among Wardle’s best-known dog paintings are those he completed for the owner of the famous d’Orsay Smooth Fox Terrier Kennels, Mr. Francis Redmond. The famous original version of the painting, entitled The Totteridge Eleven hangs in the London offices of The Kennel Club, and another version may be seen in America at the offices of The American Kennel Club.

Today Wardle is represented in several public collections including the Chantry Bequest, The Tate, the National Gallery of British Art and the Leeds City Art Gallery.

This original oil on canvas depicts a classic Victorian hunting scene; a pack of hunting hounds chasing across the rolling countryside. There is a green grassy hill in the foreground with about seven hounds racing across it; in the distance there are other hills, and other hounds, and four mounted huntsmen on brown horses following. The huntsmen are wearing red jackets and riding dress. The countryside is expansive and the rich mature tones of greens and browns suggest it is perhaps autumn. The open sky above is grey to pale blue with light cloud. The hounds in the foreground are energetic, running at full pace, teeth exposed, and we have a sensation of energy and excitement, with yelps and barking, perhaps hunting horns from the huntsmen, on this otherwise tranquil landscape. There is no sign of a fox!