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 !

Friday, July 01, 2016

the wind in your ears. and your hat.

thanks wikimedia commons (PD US)
If only Nicolas de Largilliere (French, 1756-1846) could have found an excuse to portray the spaniel's long black ears sticking straight out to either side.  Then this 1703 portrait of "La Belle Strasbourgeoise" (The Beautiful Woman of Strasbourg) would have made my entire week.  Here's typically Rococo-era relish for portraying fabrics and fashion, not least that fabulously trendy hat.  Coy head tilts?  Check.  Please do notice, too, how well her gathered sleeves play off against the dog's curly ears.  Another great example of dog as fashion accessory.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


image copyright and by kindest permission of mimi williams

Mimi Williams lives and works in Olympia WA. She finds endless riches in her world there, both in its natural beauty and in the everyday stories of her neighbors - every and any neighbor, including the friend shown here in "Joyride."
"I created [Joyride] to capture the spirit of the freedom on the road together with a wistful yearning as the dog looks at the birds he would so love to chase," Williams says. This piece is a linoleum cut block print, as is all her work, and the strength and clarity of the medium lends itself very well to a vivid image and the equally vivid feelings it evokes. You can feel the wind in the dog's ears, and see the beady-eyed yearning as he scopes out those unmissable crows.
Williams' work can be found at her website, www.mimiwilliamsprintmaker.com; I found her first at her Etsy shop.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


courtesy www.rijksmuseum.nl BK-16903-B
This cat half of a pair of gilded bronze firedogs is:
 - probably from 1770
 - probably by Philippe Caffieri the Younger
 - not the half that's a poodle
 - definitely beautiful
Firedogs help support the framework upon which the logs are piled in a fireplace.  What a clever, elegant move to make them in the shape of animals enjoying the heat and light.  That's typical for their time; 1770 would be during the ascendancy of Rococo, a playful, delicate and lyrical style.

Monday, June 27, 2016

wrapped in nightingales?

gift of W. T. Sesnon (M.55.6) www.lacma.org

Perhaps this textile wouldn't be so comfortable for a nap or for loungewear, as it contains metallic threads along its silk ones.  Even so, looking at this 17th-century Iranian textile brings soothing thoughts of perfumed gardens and birdsong, as if you could drape it around yourself and be transported there.  I believe this to be a variant of a pattern popular in its time, the "rose and nightingale" motif (gul-o-bul-bul), which symbolized the union of the lover and the beloved.  I know the birds look a lot like sun conures, but take a peek at this print from the Met for a gul-o-bul-bul motif that does essentially look a lot like this.  The Met also has an informative article about Iranian textiles of this period that I found interesting.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

the cat boat / de poezenboot

Our friends MB Fountain (@MBFountain) tweeted the other day to say they were visiting De Poezenboot.  "Say hi for me," I tweeted back, totally envious.  It's been a while since I featured this very special cat sanctuary, which occupies a large houseboat in an Amsterdam canal. (There used to be two, but sadly the second seems to have been denied use by the municipality.  Oh dear; where's all the cat litter to be stored?)  Let's have another look:
De Poezenboot, English-language site
Their poster (which says "Help The Cat Boat, otherwise the cats die")
Catster recently featured a very fine article with lots of photos.
Some lucky soul got to play with the Boat cats for over an hour and filmed some of it.  There are lots of Poezenboot videos on YouTube.
The Cat Boat manages solely from charitable giving and proceeds from their shop.  Perhaps someone you know needs a cute Poezenboot tshirt?

Friday, June 24, 2016

"don't kiss the cat"

thanks british library flickr. PD

Don't Kiss the Cat.
It must be a terrifying revelation to those who kiss their cats, that has been made by Prof. Fiocci, the Italian chemist. He has found by experiment that when a cat licks its lips it spreads over them a saliva in which there are swarms of minute bacilli not free from danger to human beings. When he inoculated rabbits and guinea pigs with this noxious substance they died within twenty-four hours; and he has come to the conclusion that it is dangerous for anyone to indulge in the habit of kissing cats.
 -- This advice, which I plan to ignore, comes from Mattie Lee Wehrley's 1916 book Handy household hints and recipes. Louisville, Ky.: Breckel Press.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

waiting for the master

found on pinterest, believed PD. on p f.50v-51r
This quiet and domestic vignette is found in the Book of Hours of Joanna of Castile (Libro d'Ore di Giovanna di Castiglia, 1486-1506 - here is the link to the digitised book at the British Library).  Also known as the "Hours of Joanna the Mad," the book contains a calendar, devotional texts, and prayers.  There are holy scenes from the life of Christ, but there are also pages and pages of open margins with scattered flowers, birds, and charming animals both everyday and fanciful.  It's a serene thing to behold, which makes it all the more poignant to me that Joanna's life was complicated and subject to politically motivated cruelties.