An art auction for the dogs

February 13, 2008 4:29:58 AM PST

Leading the way was the $66,000 paid for a 19th-century John Emms oil painting of foxhounds and a terrier resting on a straw-covered bench. Two other paintings went for $57,000 each: One, titled "Winter Fireside," was by Arthur Wardle; the other, "The First of October," by James Hardy Jr., showed three hounds after a hunt.

Tuesday's auction was the 26th sale of dog-related items by Bonhams, a company founded in London in 1793.

"We're encouraged by the continuing strength in this market, a market we've made our own," company spokesman Charles O'Brien said in a statement. "Several lots sold for spectacular prices."

The top-selling Emms painting and another Wardle work, which sold for $39,000, were within the presale estimates, but "Winter Fireside," showing dogs near a fireplace, went for about four times its high estimate of $15,000.

Besides the paintings, the sales included a 19th-century life-size cast-iron black retriever for $10,200, a Victorian sewing cabinet decorated with hand-painted dog heads for $9,000 and a William IV silver and leather collar once worn by a champion Blenheim spaniel, for $3,900.

None of the buyers were identified in the statement.