English School, 19th Century
indistinctly signed with initials ‘F.L.Q. [?]’ (lower right)
oil on board
17 ½ x 14 ½ in. (44.4 x 36.8 cm.)
frame 27 ⅝ x 24 ½ in. (70.2 x 62.3 cm.)
The little owls depicted in this work are life-size.
Although the little owl population is in rapid decline, they have taken to life in London, and can be seen (and heard) at night, in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
A great picture for a study or hallway, the little owl has traditionally represented wisdom and knowledge, and had a close association with the Greek and Roman goddesses Athena and Minerva. The murder of Julius Caesar is also said to have been heralded by the call of a little owl. Inhabiting the more temperate parts of Europe, North Africa, Asia (as far as Korea), and the South Island of New Zealand, the species first came to the Britain at the end of the nineteenth century, it’s introduction credited to the ornithologist Thomas Littleton Powys, 4th Baron Lilford (1833-1896).