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Portrait of 'Pilu', a Performing Dog

Photo credit: Victoria Art Gallery

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John Charlton, who painted 'Pilu', specialised in animal paintings. He was said to be particularly good at painting foxhounds and, above all, at capturing their personalities. Dogs have long been used in art to symbolise unconditional loyalty. They were a favourite subject for Victorian artists.

'Pilu' was something of a celebrity. He performed all over the world, apparently answering maths questions by turning up correct figures with his paw. He apparently made a fortune for his owner! The artist Helen Cochrane saw him in Pisa in 1910, just before he was run over and killed by a truck.

Victoria Art Gallery





oil on canvas


H 38.4 x W 30.5 cm

Accession number

BATVG : P : 1947.9

Acquisition method

bequeathed by Mrs Helen Lavinia Cochrane, 1947

Work type



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Victoria Art Gallery

Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AT England

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