About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Saturday, December 10, 2016

a history of exotic pets in england

thanks vintageprintable (PD)

Samuel Pepys, the English diarist, had a pet eagle.  It "fouled the house mightily," so he handed it off to someone else.  Anne Boleyn was given a monkey and didn't like it one bit.  George IV fed his adored giraffe milk, not knowing any better; the poor creature died, of course. These anecdotes and more are given in the course of scholar Caroline Grigson's new book, "Menagerie: The History of Exotic Animals in England" (Oxford Press).  What drove this need for strange and rare creatures to be captured and shipped to a country where hardly anyone could guess how they needed to live?  I've found a couple of excellent book reviews that you'll enjoy reading:
The Guardian's review here.
The London Review of Books review here.

Friday, December 09, 2016

hedgehog redux

By Edward Lear [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2014, the Guardian ran a piece on the resurgence of the African pygmy hedgehog as a popular pet.  As adorable as they are, the author, Hugh Warwick, makes several excellent points as to why this is not a great idea.  Paramount among these is the tendency for owners to tire of the critters and set them "free" into a terrain that is not natural to them, and also already a habitat at risk for the rapidly dropping European hedgehog population.
Here's Hugh Warwick's site on how to work for the good of hedgehogs everywhere.  Have fun on Hedgehog Street.  (Be sure to read their page on hedgehogs and culture!)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

"here is a brave dog"

public domain

A simple lesson for kids from the mid-1800's.

found in - Bogert, J. Augustus., Eastman, H., Merrill, R. (1843-1854). Stories about dogs. Concord, N.H.: Rufus Merrill.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

a minoan mew

the metropolitan museum of art; Bequest of Richard B. Seager, 1926
A gem of a kitty face:  this carnelian stamp once sealed letters for some tasteful Minoan sometime during 1900-1600 B.C.E.

Monday, December 05, 2016

it's monday. have a vintage dog in a hat

NYPL, PD. see below for citation
From the photography studio of O. F. Baxter sometime during 1860 to 1880, here's a stereoscopic view of a most obliging hat model.  What might it have looked like in a stereograph viewer?  As it happens, the NYPL website has an animation tool to do that, and who can resist?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

the countess' two dogs

Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (PD)
England, 1787: here's "The Countess of Effingham with Gun and Shooting Dogs," and I get the sense she's been telling those two to whoa and stay for a a while.  They want to go back to the field and work, clearly.
The definition of a shooting or gun dog is one that is bred to help retrieve game, usually birds.  They may be retrievers, flushing dogs, or pointers:  they go fetch the bird, or they run up and make the bird fly out of its cover, or they point out exactly where the bird is hiding.  I can't tell which sort these are (Setters? They are big enough) but they are a handsome pair.
George Haugh executed this piece; I do believe this portrait by Benjamin West shows the same woman 10 years later.

Friday, December 02, 2016

rabbits run

courtesy of the Getty's Open Image Program
Brittany, France, mid 1400's: a Livre de la Chasse (Book of the Chase) is created by an unknown master of illumination.  Ah, bunnies are known for providing sport, in their small way, and so we get this lively illustration of a warren of rabbits.  Let's look closer.

They hop here and there, they find their burrows, and if the lower right hand corner is any indication, they also find romance.

Rabbits (Getty Museum)
Rabbits; Unknown; Brittany, France; about 1430 - 1440; Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment