A Special Pleader
Here we have another charming painting of a young child and her loyal pet dog by the famous English artist Charles Burton Barber (1845-1894).
In this Victorian-era painting, we have a young girl wiping her tears as she stands in the corner for some unknown misdeed. This painting is very similar to his more famous painting In Disgrace. Both paintings appear to show the same little girl wearing the same dress and with her feet positioned in the same way. In the other painting, a different pet dog seems to share her punishment.
A Special Pleader has our naughty little girl being defended by a loyal dog. The dog, a border collie perhaps, stands behind his mistress with one foot raised in the air and giving off a general air of begging. It would appear the dog is pleading for her release from punishment.
While this painting does share a number of elements with In Disgrace, it shows more of the house. We have a picture window that looks out onto trees with lace curtains. Sitting in front of the window is a piano with sheet music resting on the music stand. A drapery separates the music room from the one in which the girl and her pet dog are standing. The dog is standing upon a small carpet which appears to be out of place and rumpled from the dog’s attempts at defending the child. To add to the child’s feeling of abandonment, we also have a doll in a blue dress lying beside the girl on the floor and appearing to have been simply discarded in lieu of feeling sorry for herself.
Charles Burton Barber is most well-remembered for charming depictions of children and their pets as displayed by this lovely painting. To learn more about his life and view more examples of his work, please visit our Charles Burton Barber biography.