I discovered American artist Carol Gillott and her whimsical watercolours via her blog parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com, noticing that we shared many of the same passions – namely cake, scent and all things French.
Her charming illustrations of gourmet Gallic comestibles have caught the eye of many luxury food and drink brands, and past clients include Champagne Mumm, Maison Blanc, The Russian Tea Room and fashionable cake creator Peggy Porschen, for whom Gillott illustrated the cookbook Boutique Baking (£20, Quadrille).
Macaroons and millefeuilles aside, her other speciality is painting people’s pets – also known as her “Pets In Paris Portraits” sideline. Smitten by these depictions of four-pawed folk in chic Paris settings – posing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, reclining under a table in a fashionable café, or tied up outside a patisserie (second picture) – I commissioned her to do a portrait of my dog, Biff.
I emailed a photo taken at eye level, Gillott pinged back a pencil sketch for me to approve and a week later she sent me the finished painting of my little black terrier waiting patiently outside a champagne shop (first picture). The portrait now hangs above my desk and everyone who has seen it agrees that she has captured his personality and features perfectly.
She charges £100 for a picture of one pet (£115 if you want two in the same illustration), plus about £25 shipping from the US with tracking. For a customised or specific setting, there is an additional charge of £25. If there is a better gift for besotted dog owners than sending their pets to Paris via Carol Gillott, I do not know of it.