In 1919, Mr. James Cowan Smith, a British civil engineer and philanthropist, donated £55,000 to the National Gallery of Scotland. At that time this was an enormous sum (equivalent to about £2 million today). It became the foundation for the museum’s acquisitions and has funded the purchase of more than 40 items. The donation, however, came with two conditions: one, that the museum would provide for his dog Fury after his death, and two, that a painting of his previous dog, Callum, would always be on display in the gallery.
The painting of Callum, a Dandie Dinmont terrier, was made by John Emms, who was known at the time for his animal portraits. He was widely known for the vitality of his paintings of dogs and horses and was in demand across the country for this reason.
The Scottish National Gallery lived up to both of Smith’s conditions and to this day, and for as long as the museum exists, visitors will be able to enjoy the painting of his four-legged friend.