It seems impossible to go anywhere at the moment without seeing the Union Jack or images of Corgis. Even viewers to the Chelsea Flower Show were treated nightly to a Corgi family made from flowers with blackberry eyes.
As we are still in ‘Jubilee week’ I’ll not buck the trend but follow last week’s column with another Corgi picture. This one an outsize portrait of the Queen’s favourite dogs, four Corgis and three interlopers, Dorgis (Corgi/Dachshund cross). Even Her Majesty has ‘designer dogs’!
The picture was a commission from the Royal Household to mark the Queen’s 80th birthday and was painted from photographs sent from the Palace. It hangs in the Queen’s private quarters and I gather from all accounts, ‘Her Majesty is amused.’
The dogs are Corgis Linnet, Monty, Holly and Willow, and Dorgis, Cider, Berry and Candy and as the Queen is reputedly not breeding any more, the Corgis may be the last of the line of royal Corgis which began in 1933 when the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were given Dookie as a present by their father, King George VI, then the Duke of York.
Dookie was bred by the late Thelma Gray and his registered name was Rozavel Golden Eagle. Mrs Gray’s kennel staff insisted that the puppy had become so ‘snooty’ after being selected by the Duke and Duchess of York that they named him ‘The Duke’ which was shortened to ‘Dukie’ and later Dookie’.
The Royal Favourites was painted by self-taught artist, Cindy Lass, whose simplistic, almost child-like images with their instantly recognisable vibrant colours and bold forms, have become her trademark.
Cindy left school with an Equity card and aspirations to act and radio voice-overs and acting jobs followed but in 1994 on impulse she bought a sketch pad and some paints, painted a blue and white vase and a new career began.
In the years that followed, Cindy concentrated on flower paintings and still-life studies but when her Yorkshire Terrier, Cookie, died she wanted to dedicate something to her memory and so the seeds were sown for a series of portraits of celebrities’ dogs. The ‘Celebrity Pawtraits’ exhibition in London in the summer of 2001 saw the proceeds going to Battersea Dogs’ Home.
Cindy’s art is as much about giving something as it is in receiving satisfaction from doing it and the London exhibition was followed by one in New York, the proceeds going to DOGNY – America’s tribute to search and rescue dogs, with a large proportion of the money raised by Cindy ring-fenced for research into the correct veterinary care for traumatised dogs.
Cindy has given Dogs Trust permission to use ‘The Royal Favourites’ on Jubilee T-shirts and tea-towels and Cindy herself has a range of coats for dogs with the image on the outside and lined with crowns and coronets. Must-haves for every Corgi enthusiast.
There can be few other artists who can claim a fan base of admiring art lovers which includes such celebrities as Sir Elton John, Victoria and David Beckham, Arnold Schwarenegger, Sir Richard Branston, the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Uri Geller and others.
Cindy Lass can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and her work viewed at www.cindylass.com.