Dog and art lovers rally to help keep one of the “finest” surviving classical dog statues in the UK

The British Museum has raised the funds it needs to keep a classical sculpture ofa dog in Britain.

The three-month fund-raising effort to buy the work, The Dog of Alcibiades, was given a massive boost last week with a grant of £362,000 from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The sculpture is a 2nd century AD Roman marblecopy of a bronze statue from north western Greece in the 3rd and 2nd century BC.

The campaign to raise £662,297 to save the dog for this country was backed by the Old English Mastiff Club and The Times newspaper.

Head of the Greek and Roman department at the museum, Dyfri Williams, said: “I don’t know if it’s because we are a nation of dog or art lovers – probably a bit of both. Whatever it was, it certainly caught the public imagination.

“It’s a very impressive beast – twice the life-size of a Molossian hound (ancestor to the modern Mastiff). It was a big hunting dog, obviously well fed and well cared for and would have been a prestige possession for the elite.”

The statue was to have been exported to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.