Gordon Setter.

I have been busy working on Easter artwork and a couple of commissioned pieces, none of which I can show you yet. This piece is something I did to illustrate a poem by Robert Burn’s; it was published by Kingfisher and appeared in “A Little Book of Dogs”. I am not entirely sure if the dog in question was actually a Gordon Setter but that was what I was instructed to paint by the editor at the time.

On Friday I hope to take it over to Chester where I will meet up with “Books Illustrated”, and so, in preparation for handing over the original I had the image scanned at my local repro house where they have a wonderful drum scanner. The repro house used to serve many of the local pottery companies; it is a sad sign of the times that in the last six months I was the only artist who used this facility. I dread to think what will happen if this scanner fails, it will be too expensive to repair and I have been unable to find another in my area. Of course I have a scanner here but there is no comparison in image quality. Before the world went digital I used to have my artwork photographed and put onto three inch by five inch transparencies, the problem now is the photographer cannot find suppliers of large format film. It is all very worrying and very sad, especially as I have to drive past so many closed down factories in what used to be the very heart of our pottery industry, poor old Stoke-on Trent!

On A Dog Of Lord Eglinton’s

I never barked when out of season,
I never bit without a reason;
I ne'er insulted weaker brother,
Nor wronged by force or fraud another.
We brutes are placed a rank below;
Happy for man could he say so.

Robert Burns

When life gets me down I find great solace in dogs especially my own little Jack Russell Ted. He makes me smile without fail; he lifts my spirits and keeps me fit. He gives me unconditional love and devotion and asks nothing in return except his keep. A dog that belonged to Lord Eglinton inspired this poem by Robert Burns but I think it will strike a chord with many dog owners.


  1. Drum scanners, strippable board, large format trannies - those repro house guys really knew their trade and they're a dying breed.

    How times change!

  2. Your artwork is sublime and reveals the wisdom of book publishers to pursue your talents. The image kindles a deep fondness for beloved dogs.

  3. Lovely dog.... and it sure is nice to have an excellent scanner nearby, I do hope it doesn't fail. This is the part of art-making I find more challenging - I have to have my paintings photographed professionally, and it costs hundreds. Then the framing.... phew. And too bad about the pottery industry in your area.

    I do always get a warm feeling from the photo of you dog with the long stick! Such enthusiasm!

  4. This is magical Valerie!!! Absolutely beautiful work.

  5. Indeed it does strike a chord Valerie - I could not live without a dog. My Border terrier is absolutely wonderful and, as you say, they keep you fit, they life your spirits, they give unconditional love.

  6. The dog is indeed a Gorden Setter.
    Two years ago we put our lovely girl, Ellie, a Gorden Setter down. She was the sweetest and gentlest dog I have ever own. But she did love to run and run and run...
    Lovely illustration.


  7. Chester is one of the quaintest places I've ever vistited! Doesn't it have a wall running all around it? I was just out of high school when my family visited England. I remember the Tudor architecture in Chester and we loved the pottery district. I think we went to Gladstone and Wedgewood. I had no idea of the present state of things there with the pottery industry. That is indeed so sad!
    Your setter is absolutely perfect, Valerie! Your artwork is so beautiful and detailed - I could look at your illustrations all day! :)

  8. Just fantastic art, and enjoy Chester, a wonderful place.

  9. How perfectly you have captured this beautiful dog with his noble gaze. I quite agree about dogs, my own noble lab/hound/shepherd is slouched against my feet as I type.

  10. Well, I absolutely love the setter, and the poetry, and then despair at what you write about the demise of certain technologies that really did work to reproduce beautiful artwork beautifully.

    I wish that you would write about this topic again, and perhaps draw more comments from others either affected, or sensistive to this state of affairs.


  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE this..and i couldn't agree more. my little Teddy is curled up here right by my side..the love of my life..the center of my world...the little dog that i Love, Treasure and Adore every minute of every day...my sweet, sweet Teddy.

    happy to see you at Farmhouse, it is always nice to see a friend

    sending love,
    kary and teddy

  12. There was an interesting article by Ian Jack in Saturday's Guardian about the factories in Stoke - he did see a few glimmers of hope. I'm also concerned about the possible sale of the collections at the Wedgwood Museum! Wonderful painting of the noble Gordon Setter - what a wonderful dog:)

  13. It is superb ! I like dog !
    Lo...Lovely dog .

  14. Your Gordon Setter is absolutely amazing Valerie. I've two english setter/brittany dogs. I agree with you: dogs love unconditionally.
    Thank you so such for your wishes, I appreciated a lot.

  15. Hi Valerie,
    I popped over from Michelle Palmer's. Your work is so lovely.

    Yes, it is very sad indeed, the state of things. Small business going under all the time and we will be left with only huge monopolies to deal with.

    I am an animal lover and agree totally about dogs making us happier - especially in hard times. I know mine keep me going!

  16. Loved your write up on Kew, a place I hope to visit one day, and your tree illustration.
    Your busy working on Easter. I am planning for Spring... planting bulbs.

  17. What a great picture - the castle in the background looks so magical. Sad sad sad the Stoke story. God bless Emma Bridgwater!

  18. An absolutely stunning piece, and a beautiful poem! It does indeed strike a chord. We have two Australian Shepherds who keep me company as I paint, always bring a smile, and as you say, love unconditionally. Would that humans could be that way...

    ~ Carolee

  19. Oh yes, who else loves you unconditionally, gets you out of the house when you are feeling down, and gives you such joy with their antics whatever else is happening in your life.

    Lovely poem and a gorgeous illustration.

  20. What a handsome fellow! Our dog Cheddar is loyal to the bone and not much of a barker...thank God!

  21. Beautiful Setter, Valerie, and what a lovely poem. I grew up with Irish Setters and have such wonderful memories of them. Good luck with your scanner - so sad if this fails.

  22. Ah, a sign of times, yes. And such a shame.

    Delightful picture tho, and poem too!