Each year, generous artists agree to donate a special work of original art - usually a custom framed painting - commissioned specifically for that year's National Specialty and featuring a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The artwork is used for the cover of our show catalog and often on an Annual for the Club. The actual artwork is not revealed until it is displayed during the National Specialty at the Charitable Trust space in the ringside area. At the conclusion of the National Specialty, the Charitable Trust holds a very special event - a Banquet and Silent Auction. The National Artwork is auctioned off during this event and is one of the highlights of the evening. The money raised from the auctioning of the National Artwork has raised thousands of dollars over the years to help fund research that improves the quality of the lives of our Cavaliers. If you've never attended, please consider yourself invited to our Charitable Trust Auction & Banquet.  Can't attend but would like to help? See our "How to Help" tab on this site.

Artist: Christine Merrill

Original 16 x 20 oil painting

Exclusively represented by The William Secord Gallery, New York

Christine Merrill is an internationally acclaimed artist, whose portraits of beloved pets have enriched the lives of collectors around the world.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Christine developed a passion for painting animals at a very young age.  When she was two, her mother put a pencil in her hand and she immediately started drawing animals.  With dogs and horses as her first loves, she painted her first portrait of a dog at the age of five.  Rather than pursue a conventional academic degree in the arts, she attended the traditional Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, where she studied for five years under the school’s founder, Hans Schuler and his wife, Ann.

Since 1975, Christine Merrill has specialized in the depiction of dogs, completing commissions for clients across America as well as in Europe and Japan.  Her work has been represented by the William Secord Gallery since 1990, where she has had eight successful solo exhibitions.

Merrill’s painting hang in many private and public collections, including the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in Saint Louis and in London, England where they are part of the Art in Embassies Program.  Private collectors of her work include Barbara Taylor Bradford, Geoffrey Beene, Bob Shieffer, Lack lemon and Oprah Winfrey, as well as many others.

Christine Merrill is America’s most extraordinary painter of dog portraits.  She captures in oils, the lover and understanding of our canine companions, member of the family who rarely disapprove, never disappoint, but only offer unconditional love.