Henry Hugh Armstead RA was an English sculptor and illustrator. Notable works include a sculpture of Aristotle at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Frieze of Parnassus at the base of the Albert Memorial, as well as numerous other public statues and architectural contributions. A fine draughtsman and illustrator, a large collection of his sketches can be seen in the collection of the Royal Academy.
This painting is inspired by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA’s (1802-1873) ‘King Charles Spaniels' (‘The Cavalier’s Pets’) (1845) in the collection of the Tate. Landseer’s painting depicts a pair of King Charles Spaniels resting beside a feathered Cavalier’s hat and some golden spurs, the dogs perhaps mourning the loss of their master in the English Civil War. Armstead removes these symbolic objects and focuses instead on the individual character of the darker of the two dogs, its doleful eyes looking up at the viewer.