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Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Friday, 7 January 2011
Portrait of Queen Victoria's favourite dog in auction
Sharp the Collie
Queen Victoria popularised the collie dog

A portrait of Queen Victoria's favourite collie is to be auctioned in February.

The subject of the painting, a dog called Sharp, is buried in Windsor Home Park.

Sharp lived with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, accompanying her wherever she went.

He was named after a government minister favoured by The Queen and popularised the breed with Victorian dog-owners.

After Sharp's death he was buried in Windsor Home Park, Berkshire.

His tomb stone reads: "Sharp, the favourite and faithful Collie of Queen Victoria from 1866 to 1879. Died now 1879 aged 15 years."

According to Katherine Boyle, a spokeswoman for Bonhams, Sharp was known as an ill-tempered dog who frightened most of the royal entourage and who regularly fought with other dogs.

Queen Victoria wrote in her diary on Wednesday 6 September 1869: "At five minutes to eleven rode off with Beatrice, good Sharp going with us and having occasional 'collie-shangies' (a Scotch word for quarrels or rows) with collies when we came near cottages."

Queen Victoria with Sharp
Queen Victoria constantly had Sharp by her side

Sharp's affection was reserved only for The Queen and John Brown, whose companionship The Queen depended upon after the death of her husband Prince Albert.

Collie dogs experienced a surge in popularity as a result of Queen Victoria's patronage.

The artist who immortalised Sharp, Charles Burton Barber (1845 - 1894), was blessed with Royal patronage due to his popularity as a painter of animals.

The oil painting will feature in Dogs in Show & Field: The Fine Art Sale on 16th February 2011 at Bonhams New York.

Created by the Norfolk artist Charles Burton Barber, it is estimated the oil painting could attract a pre-sale estimate of £2,500 to £4,000.

Queen Victoria commissioned him to do paintings of her with grandchildren and dogs, and also the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and his pets.

A number of his portraits are in the Royal Collection.

Laura Turnbull of Bonhams 19th Century Pictures department said: "This painting is a wonderful reflection of the bond that can exist between owner and dog.

"At a time when The Queen needed companionship the most, Sharp was her trusted and closest friend.

"The fact that his tomb sits to this day in The Queen's personal and private garden is tantamount to his importance in her life after the death of her beloved husband Albert."

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