'A Dog of Two Minds', William Mulready

Boys playing with dog

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An errand boy is urging his dog to attack a schoolboy who conceals a whip, as if about to beat the animal. In the middle distance another dog watches boys playing a more innocent game. This is one of a number of paintings by Mulready showing children playing, but with strong undertones of violence and cruelty.

Contemporaries admired the artist’s meticulously detailed technique but complained about the obscurity and moral ambiguity of his subjects.

Artwork Details

Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Date:about 1829
Accession No: WAG 278