Cecil Aldin initially studied under Albert Moore, and then moved on to the National Art Training School (later to become the Royal Academy of Art). He finished his studies under the guidance of the renowned animal artist Frank Calderon, which in all probability led him to concentrate on the artworks for which he is best remembered – hunting scenes and dogs.
He was extremely popular as an illustrator during his lifetime, often being featured in the Illustrated London News and other such publications. After the war Aldin concentrated on the perenially popular hunting scenes, but in addition he also produced a superb set of nostalgic prints of old coaching inns, cathedrals and manor houses, many of which continue to be reproduced on endless Christmas and greetings cards.
Aldin will always be best known for his paintings of dogs, a great love of his life. His favourite model was his ebullient bull terrier Cracker who – thanks to dozens of magazine and newspaper illustrations plus a series of hugely popular books – became one of the most famous dogs in the world. Cracker was almost pure white, with a jaunty black patch above one eye, giving him a rakish appearance which he fully lived up to. Such was his fame that he received his own obituary notice in The Times:
Cracker, the bull terrier, for many years the beloved companion and favourite model of the late Cecil Aldin, died July 31st, Mallorca. Deeply mourned.