William McTaggart (1835-1910)
I came across the following in an article by T. S. Robertson (F.S.A., Architect) on the Scottish painter, William McTaggart, in The Dundee Courier of 3rd May, 1904:
‘A Famous Picture.
John Charles Bell had read a winter idyll, entitled “Willie Baird,” which appeared in the Cornhill Magazine of 1865 without the author’s name (we now know it was written by Robert Buchanan), and he asked MacTaggart to paint a picture for him from this poem to illustrate the question asked by Willie, when looking up in the dominie’s face, and clasping his white hands round the dog Donald’s neck, “Do doggies gang to heaven? Would Donald go?” Bell kept this picture till he came to sell the whole of his collection at Dowell’s in Edinburgh. It fetched at the sale 330 guineas. Almost immediately after it was sold a friend of MacTaggart’s met him, and said—“If you painted like that now see what prices your pictures would bring.” His reply was—“If I were not painting now better pictures than Willie Baird it would not have sold for so much.”’
The painting is listed on the BBC’s ‘Your Paintings’ site, with the title ‘Do Doggies Gang tae Heaven?” It was painted in 1867 and is now in the collection of the Glasgow Museums.