Francis Barlow Monkeys and Dogs Playing 1661

Artwork details

Francis Barlow ?1626–1704
Monkeys and Dogs Playing
Date 1661
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1055 x 1320 mm
frame: 1229 x 1525 x 85 mm
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1989
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1650

Display caption

Barlow is the earliest known British-born animal painter. He began a tradition that reached a high-point in the work of George Stubbs a century later. During Barlow’s lifetime animal paintings were still largely associated with decorative arts and the interior design of houses. This painting, like many animal pictures, was probably produced to hang over a door.

The spaniels shown here may be portraits of particular dogs, so the painting may have been commissioned by their owner. Wealthy families often kept exotic pets as well, and the African monkeys may highlight the patron’s cultivated affluence.

April 2005