Riviere achieved immense popularity with the Victorian public for his anecdotal and often humourous pictures of animals. 'Sympathy', showing a little girl sent in disgrace to sit on the stairs while being conforted by her dog, was among the most popular of all. The first version was shown at the Royal Academy in 1878, but the picture exhibited here is a study Riviere made for a second version.
Always a supreme technician in his pictures, Riviere also painted historical subjects and portraits, but it was always his animal scenes to which the public most warmly responded.
Gallery label, August 2004
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