Early Portrait “Stray” By Marjorie Cox of Queen Victoria’s Dog Islay


This is rare and early piece by the renowned English artist Marjorie Cox, the piece is called “Stray” the artist has hand written on the back of the canvas at the top of the frame “portrait of Islay Queen Victoria’s Dog” having investigated this particular piece it is potentially one of Marjorie Cox’s earliest examples. Queen Victoria owned Islay, a Skye terrier for five years, but he sadly died after having a fight with a cat. 

This piece is pastels on canvas, and has the Canvas makers mark Reeve’s and Son’s Ltd. Ashwin St, Dalston E8 (Made in England) c1930

Reeves and Sons is an English artists’ supplies firm established by William Reeves (1739–1803) It is best known for its Reeves brand of artists’ acrylic and water colour paints. The firm went through various name changes during its history:

Reeves and Sons Ltd traded from 1891 – 1976

MARJORIE COX, was born in 1915 and left school in her mid teens. She enrolled at Miss Beatrice Flower’s Art School and also attended Heatherley’s Art School in London. She sold her first picture while still at school. She is one of the most prolific artists to have worked in this country and is a celebrated animal portraitist, particularly of canine subjects, in her own inimitable style. 

She was an old school artist and moved around the country with little but her sketch pad and a couple of boxes of pastels. She did not drive and, therefore, waited until she had a quantity of commissions in a certain area, travelled to a central location in that area and was transported from one client to another by her clients themselves. In the 1930’s she also worked for Raphael Tuck, the greetings cards manufacturer.

Her patrons included Lady Southwell, Lady Tavistock, Peter Dimmock, Phil Drabble and Nancy Fenwick, who looked after the Queen’s dogs. She painted seven of the Queen’s dogs for Mrs. Fenwick, corgis, dachschunds and a ‘dorgi’.

Her work is always clearly signed and inscribed, usually with the pet name of the subject, as indeed is this one, although she sometimes used the pedigree name. Marjorie Cox sadly died in 2003. This piece has had a small amount restoration done some time ago but this does not affect the beauty of this piece.

Dimensions: H: 51cm L: 61cm D: 2cm

Portrait of Islay by Marjorie Cox


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