Now let's start at the beginning.
Last summer, I came across the website of Luke Jervis, an artist in the UK who does custom Victorian-style pet portraits. I immediately emailed the link to Eric with the subject line: "I know what I want for my birthday." I had been struggling to figure out what gift I would like for my 30th, but as soon as I saw those portraits, I knew. My Achilles needed to be painted.
So, Eric got into contact with Mr. Jervis, who asked us to send some inspiration pictures of Achilles. We emailed him several, including this one:
Eric went back and forth with Mr. Jervis for some time to get the portrait right. We received a couple of mock-ups, and were asked to select Achilles' attire. (We debated putting him in an ascot, but ultimately decided he seemed like more of a bow-tie dog.) We also received a couple of updates as the painting was underway, and then, at long last, we received word that our portrait was finished and in the mail!
We waited impatiently for it to arrive, and finally it showed up, beautifully wrapped with pretty paper and string, with my name on the tag in lovely calligraphy. The little envelope was even sealed with a wax seal (I'm a stationery junkie, so I love this kind of stuff).
Now this is exciting.
No matter how impressive the packaging was, it was nothing compared to the masterpiece inside:
Achilles! He looks so distinguished!
Is that not the finest work of art you have ever seen? A one-of-a-kind original hand-painted portrait of our dear Achilles, sent overseas to come live in our home. It's perfect.
The cost of the portrait not only includes Mr. Jervis's fine work, but also shipping and a beautiful gold frame to complete the painting. We decided that Achilles' formal portrait fit in nicely on my dad's family picture wall, featuring pictures of our family dating back to the 1800s. We replaced my picture with Achilles and I really think it makes the picture wall, personally. (Naturally, he won't stay there, because he's coming with us when we move, but for now, you couldn't ask for a better display.)
There he is, up amongst all those charming old photographs. He's right at home!
Left: Achilles on the picture wall; Right: Another close-up of this work of art
Complete and utter delight when she spots Achilles' portrait
So, yeah. We commissioned a portrait of our dog, and I LOVE IT. It was a perfect 30th birthday gift!
And if you happen to be in the market for a portrait of your beloved pet, I highly recommend Luke Jervis. You can check out his website here for full information, and see more samples of his work on his Facebook page. He was a pleasure to work with and the finished product speaks for itself. He really captured the essence of Achilles, don't you think?