Lucy Dawson, Dog Artist

ONE OF MY favourite dog illustrators is the largely underrated 20th century canine artist, Lucy Dawson (aka Mac).

Since becoming interested in her work a few years ago I have noticed her band of collectors grow, however many of her book and postcard illustrations can still be bought for a reasonable cost.

Someone At The Door ... MAC - Lucy Dawson - vintage dog postcard.

Lucy Dawson was British born and noted for her paintings and etchings of dogs of all breeds. Her home was in Bristol until about 1930, when, after the death of her husband, she moved to London. The war years saw her move to Hertfordshire where she remained until she died, just short of her 80th birthday.

Dawson worked in pencil, pen, ink and oil and was best known for her work in pastels. These pastel portraits are simple and completely focussed on the dog. An absence of background clutter ensures the animal becomes the focal point of her work.

Dawson was invited to Windsor to paint the Royal Family's favourite corgi, Dookie.

She enjoyed regular commissions and one of her most famous requests was that by the Royal family who took her to the Royal Lodge at Windsor to paint their favourite corgi, Dookie. This painting was later reproduced as a family Christmas card for the Windsors.

Under the pseudonym Mac, Lucy Dawson is best known for her dog postcards published by Valentines & Sons as the Tailwagger series. Cat cards were also produced and are scarce.

Cake tin featuring a Scottish and West Highland terrier lithograph by Lucy Dawson.

Cairn, Scottish, Fox and Sealyham terriers feature heavily in the postcards and are representative of the popular dogs at a time when Dawson was most prolific.

Wills’ Cigarettes also commissioned a set of 40 illustrations by Lucy Dawson to be produced as the Puppies series. This series was purportedly published in the 1940s but the restrictions on paper caused by the war meant a very limited number appeared.

Baggage, Sealyham terrier from Neighbours.

They are scarce to the point of being practically impossible to prove they were actually distributed, with some claims that they have only been viewed as a proof sheet. A limited edition reprint of the Wills Cards was issued in 1990 and even these reproductions are becoming highly sought collectibles.

Among the most endearing things about Lucy Dawson’s Wills cards are the captions on the rear of the cards written by Dawson herself. These show how she has a rapport with each dog who models for her, and it gives us an instant connection with the subject.

Waddingtons Playing Cards also used illustrations by Lucy Dawson in their 1933 Dog series.

Her description of Judy, a spaniel who appeared at number 25 in the set of 40 Wills Cigarette Cards clearly illustrates this point: Judy spent the day with me alone at my studio, and we became great friends even in so short a time. I hope to renew her friendship very soon, as she was a charming model and a perfect lady – very pretty with her silky gold and white coat. She didn’t mind being left with me – I think she approved of the visit.

Lucy Dawson wrote and illustrated a number of books which are detailed in a separate article.

Many original Lucy Dawson dog illustrations and postcards mentioned in this article come up for sale here.


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Posted by Edman on Sep 2 2010. Filed under Artists & Illustrators, Books, Dig This News, Vintage Dogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

37 Comments for “Lucy Dawson, Dog Artist”

  1. I have two ORIGINAL watercolours by Lucy Dawson. Would you be interested at all? Many thanks, Ann

  2. I have 3 pics of king charles dogs and need some help with them if poss

  3. I have a Shelley cup and saucer in excellent condition.
    It has a illustration of a Pekingnese Dog on it with Lucy Dawson’s signature.
    The bottom has “Dog Studies”, RG 823343, Fine Bone China.
    Anyone interested?

    • Would love to see a picture of these items! Pekes are my favorite dogs, and I also collect teacups and teapots. You can email me w/pictures and pricing. Thanks!

  4. I just came across 2 of Lucy Dawson’s prints. I believe one is a black Scottish terrier and the other looks like Baggage, the Sealyham terrier. Anyone have any ideas of what to do with them?

  5. I have a book by Lucy Dawson titled; Dogs Rough and Smooth that belonged to my Father who is now gone. Does anyone know how old the book is, there isn’t a date anywhere in the book. It seems as though it was dedicated, To Dick. If you have any info, please let me know.

    • The Collins London edition is 1937 and I believe the Grosset & Dunlap edition to be a bit later than that. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you and yes Grosset & Dunlap is the publisher but there wasn’t a date on the title page. Found that to be a little strange.

  6. I have 4 dog prints, #’s 141,142,143,144 – three with signatures – what are they worth?

  7. Hi
    I have a bedside lamp made by Shelley and says ‘dog studies by Lucy Dawson ‘ the two pics on either side of the lamp are of a Scottie dog.. Any info ?

  8. Hi hope that someone can help. I would love to have a piece of Lucy Dawsons china. Does anyone have a cup and saucer or a mug for sale. Look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks Janet

  9. I recently bought a Peke drawing that I thought was a print, but on the back is an unfinished drawing . How do I find out if it is an original?

  10. Why does Art.com sell Lucy Dawson prints with no mention of the artist? They attribute her work to Mac?

  11. Hi Susan, Lucy Dawson signed much of her work ‘Mac’, particularly the postcards. It is probably these images Art.com are reproducing.

  12. Janet Bradshaw

    Hi does anyone have any Lucy Dawson china for sale. Hope that you can help. Many thanks Janet

  13. I have a number of original Lucy Dawson sketches for sale, some in pencil and some in pen. All are signed MAC. The subjects are domestic and zoo animals, some portraits as well. They are small in size but are exquisite. All guaranteed originals, some in mounts and the rest are loose. Please get in touch if you might be interested. alastairmccook@yahoo.co.uk

  14. Kindly let me know what the prints are please

    regards Juliana

  15. I am looking for Lucy Dawson West highland White and any Scottish terrier original prints, kindly get in touch if any at julianad@go.net.mt

  16. I have a large vintage square scarf with Lucy Dawson dogs all over, and her name in one corner. It’s either synthetic or a silk mix. Does anyone know anything about when this npmight have been produce, please?

    • Hi Sue,
      I have two of these scarves a pink one and a yellow one that I have bought from ebay.uk. Like you I dont know when they were made. I would love to know what colour your scarf is. Kind regards Janet

      • My scarf is pale yellow, and in very good condition. Any idea what it might be worth if I sold it, please?

        • Hi Sue,
          I paid £38 for the yellow scarf on ebay. I would gladly buy this one off you . Look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards Janet Bradshaw

  17. There is much elsewhere on the ‘net which is wrong about Lucy. So for info. … Lucy Dawson was born in 1876 in Colwall, Herefordshire, UK, lived in Bristol and – after her husband Cyril died during WW1 – Hertfordshire, UK (nr. London) where she died in 1958. She produced about 4 books as well as lots of etchings of mainly dogs, but I have also seen also a cat and some flowers by her. Her nickname was Mac, which sometimes appears in the corner of her works instead of her name. Dickie was almost certainly a reference to her son Richard who survived her.

  18. Hello, I have a first edition of Lucy Dawson’s Neighbours for sale. Collins 1946. Anybody interested?

    • Hello. Do you know if it contains a sketch of 2 Pekes (or Cavalier King Charles) on coffee coloured paper, titled “Sir Henry and his Mother”

      • I have Neighbours and I can tell you that it doesn’t have the two Pekes illustration you’re looking for. There is a single Peke named Koko in Neighbours.

      • A little more research tells me the books you are after is Dogs, Rough and Smooth. Good luck finding it.

  19. l have a Lucy Dawson book. ” Dogs as I see Them” copyright 1937 by Grosset and Dunlap, Inc. Anybody know a insurance value?

  20. Does anyone know in which year edition of Lucy Dawson books, appears a pair of Pekes (or could be Cavalier King Charles) with heads resting on the arm of a sofa/chair with title “Sir Henry and his mother” ,sketched on coffee coloured background? Please.

  21. Those Peke sketches are in Dogs Rough and Smooth


  23. I have a very old Lucy Dawson In a very old style frame I got it from my dads room when he passed away and I think it was my grandpas so is quite old It is a very cute wire-haired terrier sitting up just wonder how I could find out the story behind it and when it was painted.

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