Double Portrait: Grand Griffon Vendéen Hunting Dogs
Jules Chardigny (France, 1842-1892) circa 1870
Oil on canvas, signed
8 x 10 (14 x 16 frame) inches
A very finely executed portrait of a pair Grand Griffon Vendéen hunting dogs, a very old breed of French hunting dogs.
Jules Chardigny was born in London in 1842. Son and pupil of the sculptor Pierre-Joseph Chardigny, he began his career by presenting a sculpture at the Salon of 1868. At the same time, he trained in painting alongside his master, the talented Thomas Couture. Chardigny specialized in the representation of dogs, his work offers us interesting portraits. He painted a wide range of dog portraits creating a considerable output of excellent, thoughtful portraits. He died in 1892 in Paris.
Bibliography : Bénézit, 1976: 669
The Grand Griffon Vendéen is a venerable old breed originating from France. However, the ‘Grand’ part of the moniker refers to the dog’s size…. as in ‘large’… rather than anything more august. Indeed, there are several Vendéen breeds, of which the Grand Griffon is the largest. The breed’s origins go back to 16th century France. Their earlies ancestors were a griffon-type dog used by the Gauls, calls the Canis Segusius.
A scent hound by nature, the Grand Griffon Vendéen is a friendly, outgoing character with a penchant for following smells. He’s a sociable chap but this doesn’t disguise the fact that he’s also quite energetic (not necessarily a bad thing) and with an independent nature.
An interesting quirk in the development of the Grand Griffon Vendéen is that in the centuries were they were developed, their owners were from the lower classes. This meant hunters were unlikely to be mounted on horses, and would follow dogs on foot. A long-legged hound would be too quick for the hunter to keep up with, so they selectively bred for shorter legs, to allow the human hunter could keep pace with them. Hence the Grand Griffon Vendéen is longer than he is tall.
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