Somewhere in the storage of the Yale Center for British Art - one of my favorite buildings in the world - this fellow is forever leaping with excitement. Perhaps he's going after a toy ball, or a tidbit. Maybe it's time for walkies. He's "Lady Londonderry's Dog," by British artist James Ward (1769-1859). At the museum website we learn that this is "Probably a Study for the Painting, 'Portrait of Dash, a Favorite Spaniel, the Property of Lady Frances Vane Tempest,' Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1819." There's an excellent biographic essay on Ward here where I learn, not surprisingly, that he was one of the key British Romantic artists and also that he began his career after a youth of poverty as "a brittle, pious, and argumentative young man with incredible talents." Someone, in other words, who was constantly fighting to soar and desperate not to sink to the ground - well, I wondered how he'd stepped into the intensity of this animal's spirit.