Japanese Chin | Media | Art

With the popularity of elegant lap dogs for upper-class ladies in the early part of the last century, there are number of works of art featuring the Chin with "glamour" ladies. The most well known are probably those by Harrison Fisher. I have seen at least ten of his pieces featuring Chin and with a little searching, prints, or postcards of those can be found.

Sir Samuel Luke Fildes (1844-1927) painted a well-known portrait of Alexandra, Princess of Wales, with her Chin Facey. This image adorns the covers of the books, Queen Alexandra by Georgina Battiscobme and Alexandra Princess & Queen by David Duff. Visit the National Portrait Gallery to view an image of the painting: Alexandra of Denmark.

Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949) painted a portrait of Dame Marie Tempest, a turn-of-the-century English actress, with a Chin. This image can also be viewed at the ational Portrait Gallery: Dame Marie Tempest.

Frances Fairman, a breeder and exhibitor of Chin, painted a number of lovely pieces, featuring Queen Alexandra's Chin and Lady Samuelson's Chin. Maud Earl is another well-known artist who regularly used the Chin as subjects.

Two of my favorite Chin finds are the works painted by the renowned artists Edouard Manet and (1832-1883) Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1840-1919). Both painted a Chin named Tama, imported by Enrique Cernuschi, an early collector of Far Eastern Art, from Japan. It is interesting to note the completely different artistic styles used by the two painters. Manet, already immersed in the arts of Japan, painted a vivid portrait of Tama standing with a Japanese doll casually at his feet as a reminder of the dog's origin. With the doll and the alert look and tongue out, one can almost visualize Tama playing. Renoir's works sweetly depicts Tama resting on his hind legs with one paw lifted in the air. Following his Impressionist style, the setting is almost indecipherable, consisting of a mass of fluid brushwork.

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