News / Cat Portraits

Are pet portraits expensive?

Are pet portraits expensive?

Phew! we have heard that one before from customers, let's put paid to this old myth, an oil painting of your pet will last for centuries and is a unique and beautiful portrayal of one of your most prized possessions. 

The cost is a couple of hundred pounds, compare this with the cost of other works of fine art, none of which have been hand painted your own pet.

What's more all our commissions come with a 100% no quibble money-back guarantee if you don't like it for any reason, NONE of our customers have have every claimed on the guarantee.

You can also pass it onto your children or inheritors tax-free and it is also exempt from capital gains tax if you sell it (as a chattel), so what is not to like? :)

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How do I take photos for my pet portraits?- detailed blog post

How do I take photos for my pet portraits?- detailed blog post

You need a photograph that is

  • Clear
  • Up close
  • & Personal

So use a pose that is typical of your pet, so your dog is relaxed and chilled out. The photo below is an example of the images that are best to work with. To achieve this the following guide helps you take a great photo. 


The best possible lighting is achieved outside in real sunlight or by a window. If you are outside and if the sun is out, have the light source behind you. But avoid direct sunlight shining into the eyes of your animal,  as this will make your pet squint and also you may get dark shadows on the face and the colouring of the fur will not be true. 

The best day is a bright overcast day (not too heavy cloud so the light is still getting through though). Even on an overcast day, make sure the light source is behind you. We can't see it with our eyes, but the camera does and if your pet has his or her back to the sunlight there will still be shadows. Check where the sun would be if it were out and then stand with your back to it.

If you have to take your photo indoors, then in a light room near the window is best. Morning light is best, as it is bright and crisp, try it with your back to the window and your pet facing the window. Try to avoid using the flash, as this will cause red eye in your photo, although this can be fixed by us later!


The best position of your pet is to have yourself right down at the same level of your pet. Photos pointing down don't look right. If need be, lay down on the soil, get down and dirty!

It can sometimes be a good idea to have someone next to you with a favourite toy or sweetie, or to say a word that gets your pet to look interested. Have your pet look at the person next to you. As this pose is better than staring straight at you or completely side view. A slight angle to the side is much better, so you can see both eyes, take a look at the photo in this description.

If your pet is small enough, it works well if someone holds them in their arms. Don't worry we can leave the person out!!  It's a good idea to get several photos over a period of a couple of days. We don't want your pet to look fed up!!

And finally remember to have fun, if you start taking photos well before you need the painting then there is no rush or stress on you.

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Head and shoulders or full body? which one for my pet portraits?

When you are selecting what dog or horse painting it is really a matter of personal taste and choice, we give you plenty of options to choose from.

One of the options is whether to go for head and shoulders or full body, the head and shoulders is the cheapest and most popular option, you get to see the majesty of your gorgeous pooch or horse (or even a cat oil portrait) on display, the heart and soul of your favourite pooch or horse is captured, it is more up close and personal and you watch the eyes follow you around the room. look at these two examples below from our fine art horse portraits.


Look good don't they!

It is easy to see why so many customers choose the popular head and shoulders option, it also has a slightly more modern feel to it and it's less work and time for our fine artists.

However you can also go for a full body picture, so get that classic old style look, and admire your pet from afar, the old masters were expert at capturing all the details for a full body picture, but it's not that common for our customers to select that option. Most people prefer the closer empathetic relationship that the head and shoulders portrays, and it's really easy to feel that closeness, you almost want to reach out and stroke the mane of your favourite treasured equine.

Other options are you go for really close in on your photo, like this cat oil painting where the owner chose a really close up for the head, the result is magnificent.







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What is the history of pet portraits?

The history of pet portraits is quite interesting, let's take a brief look at the history and development of pet portraits over time.
Pets Throughout Art History

For who knows how long, dogs have been referred to as man’s best friend and so they are the obvious subject matter of many of the greatest artist of all time., For those who have a pet or have ever owned a pet, whatever species or breed they may be, know what it is like to have a constant companion who always greets you, with a wagging tail and cheerful smile. About 10,000 years ago dogs became one of the first domesticated animals and by 3500 B.C. cats became a household pet in Egypt. Undoubtedly the longest lasting trend, that won’t be ending anytime soon; pets have not only become ingrained into our cultural history, but have been immortalized by fine artists. When one first thinks of canine paintings, something similar to the amusingly kitsch paintings of cheap pet portraits might spring to mind, but contrary to this perception some of the most avant-garde and progressive artists such as Picasso have chosen to depict their canine counterparts on canvas.

As we take a look throughout art history there is an overwhelming presence of pets in painting, an early example is the infamous Marriage of Arnolfini Portrait circa 1434 where a fluffy little fella stands in the foreground. Though Fido could definitely be overlooked in this painting, he becomes both a symbol of loyalty and a reflection of wealth and courtly status, as he is merely a companion lap dog versus a working dog. It was during the Middle Ages when dogs and cats began being treated as pets as we know them today, bringing them into the home and allowing them to live amongst the family, however this was limited to the upper classes who had the wealth to actually support extra hungry mouths.

Jan van Eyck, "The Arnolfini Portrait," 1434, oil on panel
Jan van Eyck, “The Arnolfini Portrait,” 1434, oil on panel

It was not until the mid-1800’s, in light of the industrial revolution and new middle classes, that a larger demographic could afford a household pet. At this point owning pets, especially birds, became all the rage. In addition, commissioned portraits accompanied by your dog, cat, or bird also became a popular practice as one can see many examples all throughout the 19th century. 

Alfred de Dreux, "Pug Dog in an Armchair," 1857, oil on canvas
Alfred de Dreux, “Pug Dog in an Armchair,” 1857, oil on canvas

Probably one of the most iconic examples of a pet appearing in an uncommissioned portrait is in Andrew Wyeth’s Master Bedroom, which depicts a little pup curled up on a bed snoozing the day away. It is a portrayal of the everyday dog in an everyday American home, man’s best friend at his very best.

Andrew Wyeth, "Master Bedroom," 1965
Andrew Wyeth, “Master Bedroom,” 1965

Or more contemporary painters like Judy Henn cleverly pays homage to some of the great painters in her whimsical dog portraits such as in this David Hockney inspired piece below.

Judy Henn, "July"
Judy Henn, “July”
David Hockney, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)," 1971
David Hockney, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),” 1971

It is no surprise that pets can be seen in paintings throughout history, as pet paintings served as a form of the depiction of life before the advent of the automatic camera, and it is also no surprise that pet portraits continue to serve as an artistic rendition of pets, to embody our close and unique emotional connection with pets and signify our humanity, and civilization; we undeniably love them and they love us back, unconditionally. 

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What is the guild of fine artists?

What is the guild of fine artists?

Guild members agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and keep up to date with the latest standards, trends and materials through their regular reading of Art +Framing Today, which the Guild publishes for the trade. Standards and qualifications development, dispute mediation, merchant services and other professional requirements are apllied by every guild member.

All Guild members agree to abide by the Code of Ethics

  • Observe the highest standards of integrity in all transactions
  • Protect the interests of their customers
  • Avoid the use of false, confusing, inaccurate or misleading terms, descriptions and claims
  • Make every effort to reach an amicable and speedy solution in the event of a dispute with a customer
  • Maintain adequate insurance protection to suit their business and customers' needs
  • Represent itself as a member of the Guild only whilst a current member
  • Maintain and enhance the reputation, standing and good name of the Guild and its membership
  • Contribute to the advancements of the profession through development and support of Guild standards, the education of fellow members and consumers
  • Recognise the authority of the Guild in all matters relating to the interpretation of this code of ethics
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I got some tricky questions on Pet Portraits?

I got some tricky questions on Pet Portraits?

Can you paint my pet in real life at a sitting? We are an online group of artists, unfortunately those lovable pooches won't sit still for longer than 5 minutes, it's the same story with herding cats! or trying to control a 600 pound carthorse to continuously stare at you! It's much better and simpler to send us your favourite photo, preferably in HD-high definition format with your order number, then we can get motoring .....

Can you draw my pet with a humble pencil? or is it just Renaissance Oil Painting Masterpieces!? We are happy to draw your lovable pooch in pencil, take a look at the wonderful pencil examples on our website. If you want to go the full monty though..... our oil paintings our really really good! renaissance quality at prices you can afford, how does that sound? Are you in?

Can you do me a portrait of two pets but from two different photos? No this is completely out of the question, how do you expect us to maintain our artistic integrity under different lighting conditions. Only joking, this is absolutely fine, we can work with different photos, as we know it is tricky to get two cats or horses in the same photo at the same time without causing a severe bust-up!

Can I specify a certain style of oil painting? If you want a special style, please send us a photo of a similar oil painting in that style, we will do our very best to replicate that style. We can do almost anything! It is much better if we can see what you mean visually, unfortunately we can't deal with requests like "make it look funky, but not too contemporary" or "I want it to be really detailed, but not too photographic", we are all budding artistic geniuses, but unfortunately we are not mind-readers! so please send us a photo of another painting of the artistic style you want.

How many artists do you have? We are a small cosy team of 3 artists, we work well together and we keep our customers and their pets happy this way too:)

Where are you based? We are all based in Merry Old England, the admin is done from Maidenhead near West London. We have plans to move to somewhere artistic and epic like the hidden mountain Kingdom of Bhutan, but it hasn't happened will one day.

What happens if I don't like my pet portrait? We have never had an unhappy customer, however if you for any reason you are the first, then we won't hold it against you, we can refund your purchase 100%. We will send you photos of it, for checking, before we dispatch it to you.

Where do you deliver to? We deliver worldwide free of charge. 

How do I pay? You can pay by paypal or all major credit cards and apple pay on this website.

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