Animal painting became increasingly popular in the 17th century, although sporting scenes and hunt trophies were more usual subjects than live domestic creatures. The genre originates with Dutch and Flemish painters, several of whom visited London during William Cartwright's lifetime (who bequeathed this painting to Dulwich College in 1686). This painting could nonetheless also be the work of a British artist - for example Francis Barlow (1626-1704), usually credited with being the first English animal painter.