'Portrait of a Large Dog' (Dingo)

A brown fox like animal with white fur on its inner ears and end of tail, looking out over a hill.

Portrait of a Large Dog, CC BY © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Acquired with the assistance of Heritage Lottery Fund; Eyal Ofer Family Foundation; The Monument Trust; The Art Fund; The Crosthwaite Bequest; The Sackler Foundation; Sir Harry Djanogly CBE; The Hartnett Conservation Trust; Sheila Richardson and Anthony Nixon; James and Clare Kirkmans; The Leathersellers' Company; Gapper Charitable Trust; Genevieve Muinzer and others; Image courtesy of Nevill Keating Pictures Ltd

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  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • This painting of a Dingo, a wild dog from Australia, was painted by George Stubbs. The only thing is, Stubbs had never seen a Dingo. He based his painting on descriptions of Australian animals from the sailors and scientists who travelled with Captain Cook to Australia in the 18th Century. He also painted this Kangaroo.

      Captain James Cook, 1728-1779, was an explorer and navigator and a Captain in the Royal Navy. His ‘discoveries’ of Hawaii and South East Australia dramatically changed what people in the 18th century thought the world looked like.

      As well as bringing home knowledge of new lands, Captain Cook brought home knowledge of new species of plants and animals that had never before been seen by Europeans.

      Things to think about:
      • Captain Cook is often credited with 'discovering' Hawaii and other Pacific Islands. There were however already people living on these islands when he arrived. Who do you think really 'discovered' the islands?
      • Europeans had never seen a Dingo before this painting. How would you describe this creature to somebody?
      • Can you have a go a drawing your own strange creature?
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