'Mowgli made leader of the Bandar-log'

by John Charles Dollman (1851-1934)

This painting, done in 1903, shows Mowgli in Cold Lairs, the ruined city in the Indian jungle. He was a prisoner of the Bandar-log, the monkey people, who had taken him there after a wild journey swooping through the tree-tops, saying they wanted to make him their leader. He is rescued by Kaa the giant python, who wreaks a terrible revenge on the Bandar-log after dancing the Dance of the Hunger of Kaa. The painting was sold at auction by Bonhams and Brooks, at their saleroom in Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1HH on May 23rd 2001.

Further information is available from Charles O'Brien at Bonhams and Brooks on (44) 20 7393 3900.

The painter John Charles Dollman (1851-1934) was born in Hove, and came to London to study at South Kensington and the Royal Academy Schools before establishing his studio in Bedford Park, London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from the 1870s through until 1912. The following year he was elected RWS.

His forte was bold works featuring animals, and he also produced a range of simple compositions just showing animals, sometimes sporting, sometimes genre. Perhaps his best known work is A London Cab Stand (1888), focussing on the horses, standing together in stormy surroundings. He painted at least three versions of this picture, and there are other cases where he made copies or near-copies after particular pictures.

Among his impressive mythological pictures are The Unknown (1912), featuring a girl surrounded by chimps, Orpheus and his Lute with Lions, and a Viking horde entitled The Ravagers. In the 1890s he painted pictures of soldiers, and some genre pictures of people with animals. Other work included fine wild animal pictures without any attempt at narrative content.

Dollman was also an illustrator, working in colour and black and white for various magazines including the Graphic during the 1880s and later. Some of his early work is said to have influenced Van Gogh. Dollman's paintings are in the collections of many galleries; a version of The Unknown is in the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle. A London Cab Stand is in the London Museum. A Dog's Home, Table d'Hote is in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, and an intriguing picture of two golfers being approached by a pair of religious people, During the Time of the Sermonses is in the collection of the Harris Art Gallery Preston.