In the Sporting Sale in Bonhams Edinburgh sale room on June 21, the final lot is an oil on board by the Scottish artist and teacher of animal painting and drawing, John Murray Thomson RSA RSW PSSA (1885-1974), of a head study of a mustard Dandie Dinmont Terrier catalogued as ‘One of Miss Whitelaw’s prize winning terriers’.
From contemporary photographs by Thomas Fall, Eve Niven’s pottery model, Barbers Teas tea card and information supplied by the vendor, whose mother, Nellie Denison, was Miss Whitelaw’s kennel maid, the dog is almost certainly Ch Hatton Redcap, Miss Whitelaw’s best known and most successful Dandie.
Miss Rhoda Whitelaw was a figurehead in the breed, by all accounts a formidable character and one of the old school of ‘doyenne’ breeders of the breed. She founded her kennel in 1931, doing much of her initial winning with the CC winning Alpin Waes Me and Alpin Mab from Mrs T M Simpson Shaw, one of the breed’s staunchest supporters who began breeding Dandies seriously in 1893.
Following the Second World War, Miss Whitelaw made up a number of champions carrying the Hatton prefix (Hatton House which lies west of Edinburgh just off the A71 was the family home). Her last champion was Ch Hatton Nimrod who gained his title just before she died.
Redcap was a large dog and an example of whatever the breed, given dogs of equal merit, but one on the small side, the other large, it is the larger one that will do all the winning, if for no other reason than being eye-catching and impressive and Redcap was certainly that.
He won his title in three consecutive shows in 1956, winning 17 CCs in total (including BOB at Crufts in ‘58) from 16 judges, a breed record at the time. He was ‘Dandie of the Year’ in ‘56 and ‘57, best in show first day Scottish Kennel Club ‘57, best terrier dog Bath ‘57, best terrier Caledonian Show ‘57, best in show at the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club championship shows in ‘57 and ‘58 and won extensively elsewhere.
Redcap was born June 25, 1954, sired by Hatton Rockie ex Hatton Radiance and was a grandson of the equally well-known Ch Waterbeck Watermark who was BOB at Crufts in ‘51 and ‘52 and was one of numerous Waterbeck dogs to be exported to America and win their American title.
Miss Whitelaw was from a family of five, two sisters and three brothers. Tragically the three brothers were all killed in the First World War but one left a son who was Willie Whitelaw, deputy Prime Minister, Home Secretary and leader of the House of Lords following his elevation to the peerage in 1983. Margaret Thatcher relied on Whitelaw heavily, famously announcing that "every Prime Minister needs a Willie.”
Redcap’s picture has expectations of between £300-500 and it can be seen, along with all the other lots in the Sporting Sale, on Bonhams website www.bonhams.com/locations/EDI.