This is Zé. From Brazil.

He died a while ago, which made working on the portrait, long staring at that beautiful face, all the more poignant – particularly that last shot of Zé somehow, where he is all curled up like a kidney bean. My Jeffy does that too, and there is something heart-stoppingly beautiful about the action.

But though it might work as a picture, I didn’t think it would be so good for a portrait. I chose the profile – it reminded me of those elegant Renaissance portraits, but far more beautiful, of course.

and off we go … starting with a patch of black wool on top of a cream jersey.

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More shots from the desk:

And here he is from behind. I love these pictures of the reverse – they’re normally much more chaotic, it has to be said, but Zé proved from the start, to be an elegant and distinguished chap.img_9006Yet again, the eyes, which I think I always do first for fear of accidents (that is, missed likeness), are not there till much later.

Here they come, and Zé along with themimg_9021

I think he’s rather lovely. And, rather wonderfully, so did his owner. I always take my heart in my hand when I send off the first pictures to the owner, because likeness is a fickle thing. I have to close my eyes, and press send, and then try not to check my emails every ten minutes after that, because people do have other jobs to do than nurse a neurotic embroiderer.

Zé, I am pleased to say, went down very well. Very well indeed- a lovely dog, and charming owner – now that’s a commission made in heaven.img_9015img_9017

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