The subjects of this painting are the pet Pomeranians of the famous musician Carl Freidrich Abel. The breed was larger and more like the German Spitz or Samoyed than the Pomeranians of today. Commonly called ‘fox dogs’ because of their vulpine faces, they were quite rare in Britain at the time of painting, and so may have been brought over from their owner’s native Germany.
Pomeranian Bitch and Puppy
Thomas Gainsborough (1727 – 1788) was a British painter, draughtsman and printmaker. Best known for his portraiture, he was the most successful artist in this genre by the mid-1770s. Whilst portraits earned him his living, he preferred to paint landscapes. He was a founding member or the Royal Academy of Art, but fell out with them over the hanging of his pictures several times, and refused to exhibit there after 1784, staging exhibitions in his own studio instead.