Very little is known of Otto Hoynck except that he was an animal painter from The Hague where he studied under Arnold van Ravestyn (1625-1690) and that he worked in England in around 1670. Before that he had been the Dean and Inspector of the Picture Brotherhood in 1651 and in 1661 Master of the Guild of St Luke in The Hague. While in England he seems to have painted animal pictures and become the ‘painter to the Duke of Albermarle’. We know that he signed a picture of a winner greyhound which belonged to the Duke of Albermarle in 1672. He also signed a picture of Lord Shaftesbury’s collar in 1671 and worked for William II, the Prince of Orange-Nassau. His last recorded document, which is perhaps his will, is in Amsterdam and is dated 1686, the year of his death.
This large exotic and intriguing painting which is probably dated 1675/6 is one of the few and first examples of the work of the Dutch artist. It represents the Golden Horn at Constantinople with a Dalmatian in the foreground which gives it its current name The Spotted Dog. It belongs to the first appearance of a minor form of portrait painting which was to remain most popular after family portrait painting amongst British patrons: Sporting Painting and more especially painting of prize-winning animals as is probably the case here. The paintingis on loan from the Victor Batte-Lay Trust to Colchester Borough Council and can be seen on request.
HELD, J., Oud Holland 1933 (L), Numbers 1-6, p 179-192 (14)
WATERHOUSE, Ellis, The Dictionary of 16th and 17th Century British Painters, Antiques Collectors’ Club, 1988
Sir Archibald Buchan-Hepburn sale, 23 February 1934, lot 138
Unknown London Auction, 1943