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The Italian Dancing Dogmaster by Edward Bird

11/21/2009
Painting of a man playing the bagpipes. A monkey sits on his shoulder.

The Italian Dancing Dogmaster by Edward Bird, Oil on Panel, 1790 - 1819, OP766

Bird used many of his family, friends and acquaintances as models in his paintings and many of his drawings and paintings, like this one, were clearly done from life.

The son of a poor Wolverhampton carpenter, Edward Bird only had a basic education and started his artistic life painting designs onto japanned ware. 

In spite of this lowly start, he went onto become a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and court painter to Charlotte Princess of Wales.

Among his many works there are landscapes, portraits, fancy pictures, book illustrations, domestic scenes and historical pictures.

He always tried to depict human character or to illustrate moral or general truths.  Such kinds of ‘common-life’ paintings were the most successful part of his works.

His untimely death in 1819 was marked by 300 people following his coffin through the streets of Bristol.  He was well-loved by artists and patrons alike, and was one of the most financially successful artists of the time.

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