This is the now-extinct American Lion. She had a large range — Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and northern South America. She hunted large mammals including bison and horses, so it was good she was 25% larger than the African Lion. Unfortunately the American Lion’s only predator — us humans of course — helped her into extinction by about 13,000 years ago.
Isabella Watling,Gina and Cristiano, 2014, oil on canvas, [no dimensions], currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
This was my personal favourite from this year’s BP Portrait Awards. I love everything about it: the figure’s tall, dark form; his outstretched hand; that gorgeous white dog; the glint from the gentleman’s earring; and his slightly tense, yet accepting, expression. Anything that alludes to the work of the Old Masters is going to be good in my eyes! You can’t look at this painting and not think of Van Dyck or Gainsborough or Reynolds.