Born in Slough in 1870, Cecil was inspired by his builder father, who moonlighted as an amateur artist. Cecil started his journey in the art world studying in the studio of Albert Joseph Moore in Kensington. But Aldin was uninspired, perhaps because the art he sought out to create was far removed from Moore's decadent depictions of women.

Self-portrait on his hunter Self-portrait on his hunter
Image: British Sporting Art Trust

Alvin moved on to South Kensington's National Art Training School, where he studied animal anatomy. It was this passion for capturing all different kinds of beasts that impassioned Aldin, and the artist sold his first drawing to The Building News in 1890.

From here, his career as an illustrator was propelled into new heights. In 1892, he rented a studio in Chelsea and drew for The Illustrated London News, visiting the London Zoological Gardens to feed his love for capturing animals with his pencil.

In 1894, Aldin became associated with one f 20th century literature's most famous books, as he was commissioned by The Pall Mall Budget to illustrate their serial of stories from Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book. 

In the first decade of the 20th century, Aldin joined the Chelsea Arts Club and had his first exhibition in Paris in 1908. In Paris, Aldin was a roaring success, a 1909 exhibition lead to the artist achieving global fame, particularly gaining popularity in America.

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Cecil Aldin print at auction at JS Fine Art this week Cecil Aldin print at auction at JS Fine Art this week

Back on British soil, Aldin illustrated Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers. Outside of creating illustrations for some of the early 20th century's most beloved authors, Cecil made a number of his own books featuring his drawings. Aldin's Sleeping Partners featured his two favourite furry models: his Irish Wolfhound Micky and Cracker, a Bull Terrier, who had a dark patch of fur of one of his eyes.

From 1885 to the 1930s, Aldin was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed artists of Europe and America, creating pastels, watercolours and later etchings of both comical dogs and grand equestrian scenes.

The featured print by Cecil Aldin will be up for sale in JS Fine Art's auction on 24th June, 2017. Check out the full catalogue here.