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It is suprising that all the paintings in this room once hung in a modest suburban house. In terms of scale, ambition and presence, these pictures seem more suited to a spacious public gallery. 'Model and Dog' was the largest painting in Wilkie's collection. Peter Snow, whose paintings Wilkie also collected, recalls that Wilkie would 'gaze for hours at Craigie Aitchison's large nude figure which took up one whole wall'. The painting also reveals Wilkie's admiration for the work of Titian. A reclining figure with a dog was a favourite subject of the Renaissance master, occurring in his paintings 'Venus of Urbino' in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and 'Danae' in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

September 2004