George Earl


Little is known about the life, early painting or formal training (if any) of British artist and animalier George Earl, patriarch of the Earl family. We do know that he was a well-known painter in his day, thanks to his natural and realistic depictions of sporting animals, and was himself an enthusiastic sportsman.

His brother and two children were also noted artists, Maud, George's daughter, remains the most famous.

His most important painting is 'The Field Trial Meeting' a depiction of a fictitious field trial set in Bala, Wales. It is notable because it included likenesses of nearly all the most important sportsmen of the day with their favourite animals.


Earl exhibited nineteen paintings at the Royal Academy between 1857 and 1882, although only two were of dogs (a Maltese and an Old English Mastiff). His most important work was undoubtedly 'The Field Trial Meeting' which depicted a mythical field trial in Bala, North Wales, in which almost all the important field trial personalities of the day are depicted with their dogs. He is also remembered for an important series of portrait head studies of dogs, Champions of England. Painted in the 1870s, this was illustrated in a now rare volume of the same name.

The father of the dog and animal artists, Maud and Percy Earl, George was also the brother of another animal artist, Thomas Earl. George was an active sportsman who excelled in the depiction of dogs and he is remembered primarily as a sporting dog painter. Little is known of his background and training or his early work.

Literature: 'Dog Painting. The European Breeds' by William Secord, published by the Antiques Collectors' Club.

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George Earl (1824–1908) was a painter, primarily of sporting dogs and other animals. He was also the father of Maud Earl and Percy Earl, and the brother of Thomas Earl, all three of whom were also animal artists.

Earl was a keen sportsman and this is reflected in his work and reputation as a dog painter. He was also an early member of The Kennel Club. Although chiefly remembered as a canine artist due to his success depicting them, of the nineteen paintings Earl exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1857 and 1882 only two were of dogs.

Notable works:
The Field Trial Meeting - A depiction of a mythical field trial set in Bala, North Wales. Earl included many of the famous dog trial faces of the day along with their animals. One such animal was 'Plunkett', the only Irish Setter depicted.

Going North and Coming South - Two pictures commissioned by Sir Andrew Barclay Walker of the Walker Brewery, the paintings are bustling narrative works depicting railway station life. Now owned by the National Railway Museum they were rescued in 1990 from a Liverpool pub (The Vines in Lime Street). Going North tells the story of a group of friends travelling from Kings Cross to Scotland for the summer grouse shooting season. The partner work Coming South shows the group a month later at Perth Station, about to make their return journey.[3] The works show much of the minutiae of Victorian station life and also include Earl's trademark sporting interests in the form of dogs and grouse.

Champions of England - A series of portrait studies of dogs heads painted in the 1870s, the works were illustrated in a book of the same name. div

The Earl family of artists were a British family of painters particularly known as animaliers. The artists were:

George Earl (1824–1908)

Thomas Earl, his brother

Percy Earl (1847–1947), George’s son. Best known for exceptional horse portraits.

Maud Earl (1864–1943), George’s daughter. Maud is today the best-remembered of the Earls.