Nick Hugh McCann has been painting professionally since 2012, combining personal projects with commissioned work.


Where, when or how Byron developed his great love of dogs is unknown, but love them he did and had many breeds of dog, both in England and in exile abroad. Perhaps the most famous of all was Boatswain. Entombed in the grounds of Newstead Abbey, with a sentimental and reverential carved epitaph created by the poet, Byron’s beloved dog Boatswain (‘Bo’sun’) has gained celebrity status down the years.

A painting of 1808 by Nottingham sporting artist Clifton Tomson – on display at Newstead Abbey today – further enhanced the dog’s black & white brand values. It is probably a posthumous picture, or painted from second-hand descriptions of the dog relayed to Tomson. It doesn’t show his famous engraved brass collar; perhaps that particular one was buried with the dog.

Because Byron claimed to know, though how he did is questionable, the date and location of the dog’s birth, Boatswain has always been thought of as a Newfoundland. In fact from any evidence we have he shows no signs whatsoever of being of that breed. He could easily have come from “Finland”, close enough to “Newfoundland” in the speech of a grogged up old sea dog! There is no mention by Byron of where or from whom he acquired the dog – perhaps in an 1806 Mansfield pet shop? All we have to go on is the epitaph, several references in Byron’ correspondence and the delightful childlike illustrations by Byron’s Southwell neighbour Elizabeth Pigot in The Wonderful History of Lord Byron and his dog; an Austen-esque riff on the poem, Old Mother Hubbard (see illustration here).

Boatswain was by all accounts Byron’s favourite dog, probably in no small measure due to the animal’s large size, flamboyant and striking appearance, thick piebald coat and muscular physique. They must have made a truly imposing pair. From Byron’s letters he must also have been a fearsome creature when roused, especially when confronting other dogs. In 1808 Byron came down from Trinity College Cambridge and returned to Newstead with Boatswain and his equally famous bear, Bruin. There, on the wild gothic estate, the dog would have had the run of the surrounding woods, hills and lakes, no doubt enjoying swims with his master.

On the tomb, Byron being Byron eulogized that: Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity and all the virtues of man without his vices. In Byron’s will, he insisted he be buried next to the dog (although that was not ultimately to be).

In the mid-1980s, artist Nick McCann had the privilege of going down into the dog’s tomb while stone-work was being repaired by the authorities. In the middle of the Mansfield stone crypt were fragments of the dog’s broken stone sarcophagus – but no coffin and no Boatswain. Someone had removed the dog’s remains in the intervening 178 years.

- Nick Hugh McCann August 2018

For sale at auction: Cheffins, Cambridge, Fine Art Sale 12/13th September 2018. Estimate £7000-£10,000.
120 x161cm. Oil on linen in a hand-made ‘Hogarth’-style frame by Store Street Framing, London, designed by the artist. Signed McCann bottom left. Titled and signed on the canvas verso.
© Nick Hugh McCann 2018

Karen McKay, Technical Operator, Stanlow Oil Refinery, Merseyside, pictured on her 50th birthday with her three chihuahuas.

Oil on linen
7 x 4ft
Collection of Karen McKay
© Nick Hugh McCann 2018

Dana Gillespie Queen of the Risqué Blues – DIVA

Recently short-listed for the Royal Academy West Open Bristol
Walnut oil with lapiz lazuli on flax
6 x 5ft (canvas)
Sansovino frame by Store Street Framing, Bloomsbury and created by Peter Standley.
Collection of the artist
© Nick Hugh McCann 2017


Dana Gillespie with the artist,
after signing the painting at Store Street Framing
Bloomsbury, London. October 2017.

A3 Print

A small number of high quality A3 giclee prints are available signed with love by Dana Gillespie.

“And When Did You Last See Your Feet?”

Museum of Comedy

(Dame Barbara Windsor and Carry On cast)

Oil and 24 carat gilding on linen
8.5 x 4.5ft (approx) in hand made black and water gilded box / tray frame by Store Street, London
Collection of the artist
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

McCann’s 9ft Carry On cast portrait, “And When Did You Last See Your Feet?” was unveiled and signed by Dame Barbara Windsor at London’s Comedy Store:

In October 2016. In November it transferred to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, where it was exhibited next to the work to which it paid humorous tribute to: “And When Did You Last See Your Father?” by Sir Frederick Yeames.

It is now on exhibition at London’s Museum of Comedy in Bloomsbury:

The painting is for sale.

'And When Did You Last See Your Feet?' by Nick McCann

Stefanus Gerrardus (Steven Gerrard as Caravaggio’s, St John The Baptist, 1604)

Sold to a Private Collector June 2017

Oil and 24 carat Latin gilding on linen
6 x 5ft including oil and water gilded 17th century Kent style frame with Liverbird motifs by Store Street, London
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

Omnia circum me versantur, Carissima – (It’s all about me, Darling.)

Sold to a Private Collector June 2017

Oil on linen with lapis lazuli 24 carat gold.
8ft x 6ft including hand-made water gilded frame by Store Street, London
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

Lord Byron sees Nicolo Giraud for the first time. Private Collection USA

‘Lord Byron sees Nicolo Giraud for the first time, Attica, Greece 1809′
Oil on linen
48 x 36in
Handmade gilt wood frame by Store Street, London
A companion piece to Byron & John Eddleston at Newstead 1809

Byron & John Eddlestone at Newstead 1806. Private Collection USA

Oil on linen. 5 x 3ft.
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

The Tooth Fairy

Mixed media on canvas
5 x 4ft
Collection of the artist
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

The Duchess of Beeston

Oil on linen. 14 x 10 in.
Handmade copy of a Rembrandt frame.
Collection Nicola Tarr
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

Wedding picture

Oil sketch on wooden panel.
20 x18 inches.
Collection of Jason and Michelle Wilson.
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

Mrs Byron after Thomas Stewartson

Oil on linen 30 x 24 in. Gold leaf Georgian frame.
Collection Geoffrey Bond OBE
© Nick Hugh McCann 2016

Byron’s Dream

Decorative acrylic mural on wall 9 x 6 ft
Private Collection
© 1992 Nick Hugh McCann

Luger a weimaraner

Oil on sized linen 18 x 24 in
Collection Chris & Rebecca Reece
© 2012 Nick Hugh McCann

La Serenissima, the Bride of the Sea

Oil mural on wall 14 x 8 ft
Private Collection
© 1988 Nick Hugh McCann

Tania Amazon

Oil on canvas. 16 x 16 2008.
Collection of Derek & Nickie Tarr

Lord Byron’s Last Journey

Watercolour 30 x 24 in
Collection Geoffrey Bond
© 1988 Nick Hugh McCann

The painting is featured in the
Kirsty Wark BBC documentary;
‘Byron – Exile on Fame Street’:

Skyefall (left)

Oil on linen, 20 x 24 in
Collection Alan Cribbens
© 2012 Nick Hugh McCann

Torrent on Mull

(top right)
Oil on linen, 12 x 12 in
Collection Eddie & Beryl Tarr
© 2012 Nick Hugh McCann

The Tarr’s house on Elm Avenue, 1999

(bottom right)
Oil on canvas, 12 x 18 in
Collection Derek & Nickie Tarr
© 1999 Nick Hugh McCann

Mum as Bathing Beauty, New Brighton, 1959 (left)

Chalk and pastel on tinted paper
12 x 18 in Private Collection
© 2013 Nick Hugh McCann

Dad playing a blinder, Queen Anne Bowling Green, Nottingham (right)

Oil on canvas (two canvases),
(Main canvas)
36 x 36 in Private Collection
© Nick Hugh McCann

Lord Byron’s Lyon

Oil on canvas, 4 x 3 ft
Private Collection
© 1992 Nick Hugh McCann


Royal Courts of Justice, Rolls Building Panorama

Canvas, 30 x 9 ft

The Rolls Building Art & Education Trust, Fetter Lane, City of London

© 2011 Nick Hugh McCann

To watch a short film on the piece go to:

A triumph of photographic ingenuity –
Brian Sewell

Nick McCann presented to HM The Queen at the building’s official opening

Conversation Piece

Oil on canvas, 6 x 6 ft
Collection of the Artist
© 2012 Nick Hugh McCann

Logan the Eskimo Dog

Oil on linen, 36 x 30 in
© 2013 Marc & Lucie Pearl, San Francisco

Dianora Dunnet

In a white gold leaf hand-made frame
Collection of Geoffrey & Dianora Bond

Oil on linen, 20 x 24 in
© 2013 Nick Hugh McCann

Nelson, a Landseer after Stubbs

In a 23 carat gold leaf hand-finished Georgian frame.

The work is a tribute to George Stubbs’s Nelson, a Newfoundland, the property of HRH The Duke of York, 1803. It was exhibited at the Kennel Club Art Gallery, in Mayfair, London from August 2013 – January 2014, and now belongs to a Private Collector.

Oil on linen, 60 x 40 in
Private Collection
© 2013 Nick Hugh McCann


Wildlife Illustrations

Hare, Various, English Partridge
Pheasant, Wigeon, Woodcock
Rabbit, Red Grouse, Snipe

Watercolour and body colour on tinted board, each 12 x 9 in
Handmade ‘Hogarth’ style frames
Private Collection
© Nick Hugh McCann 2013

Study in Blue

Angela Harwood Postiglione
Oil on linen, 72 x 48 in
Handmade white gold frame

Private Collection
© 2014 Nick Hugh McCann

Moon River

Lord Byron’s Lyon
Privately commissioned new version of the first 1992 painting.
Oil on linen, 36 x 28 in
Georgian black & gilt frame

Private Collection
© 2014 Nick Hugh McCann

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