About Me

My photo
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 !

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

vintage wednesday

 LC-USZ62-131277  loc.gov
September 23, 1929: Here's Piney, the baby Schnauzer, on top of one of the medicine balls his human uses for exercise each day...before he goes off to the Oval Office.  Piney belonged to President Herbert Hoover.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

the white dog of the faith

actually an edward lear illustration (PD)

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the great Cistercian abbot of twelfth-century France, is sometimes portrayed with a white dog; here's why. . . 
However it be, he verified the Interpretation of his Mother's dream. She dreamed, when she was of Child with him, she should be delivered of a white Dog, whose barking should be very sonorous. Being frighted at this Dream, she consulted an honest Monk, who said to her, Be of good Courage; you will have a Son, who shall keep God's House, and bark much against the Enemies of the Faith. St Bernard did more, than the Prediction imported; for he barked sometimes against chimerical Enemies, against Errors, which were either meer Trifles, or unjust Interpretations of the Words and Thoughts of others...

-- From Bayle, P. (1734-38). The dictionary historical and critical of Mr. Peter Bayle. The 2d ed., carefully collated with the several editions of the original ... To which is prefixed, the life of the author, rev., corr., and enl., by Mr Des Maizeaux ... London: J.J. and P. Knapton [etc.]. p. 772-3.

Monday, March 27, 2017

precious hedgehog

Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910 www.metmuseum.org
This gold hedgie on his snug little box is a piece of jewelry - a pendant.  He is thought to have been made in Egypt sometime in the Late Period to the Ptolemaic Period (4th century BC to about 30 AD).  This piece's page at the Metropolitan Museum of Art notes that hedgehog amulets were often worn by Egyptians, possibly because they thought of its hibernation and waking as a symbol of rebirth.  I find the thought of someone in ancient days occasionally touching their hedgehog jewel, taking comfort in the idea of new beginnings, is a warm and pleasant one.  Perhaps I need a hedgehog pendant.  Of course you'll see that the Met's page says that they also admired the animal's ability to roll into a small ball - what's that about?  The orb of the Sun?  Just Egyptian goodnatured humor?  Who doesn't like cute animals that roll up into tiny balls?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

a cheerful "story of a lost dog," 1933

thanks fr.wikisource.org (PD)
This colorful cover, and the cheerful tale within, is by the pioneering cartoonist and animator Benjamin Rabier.  You see his work very, very frequently, though you don't realize it:  he's the best-known illustrator of the Laughing Cow logo.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

kiss and make up, 1797

thanks http://gallica.bnf.fr (PD)
History lesson, everybody!  What European peace treaty does this odd picture represent?  No, I didn't know either...

The caption reads, "Le Traité de paix avec Rome : baisez ça papa et faite pate de velours." Translated as best I can: The peace treaty with Rome, kissing the Pope and keeping a good face on it.  
There's a possibility the actual meaning might be a lot cruder, considering this is a satire of the Treaty of Tolentino of February 1797 in which Napoleon imposed terms of surrender on the Papal States.  So the cat in the hat there is the Pope, accepting a branch of peace that isn't going to end well for him and he knows it.  The Pope in question, Pius VI, was shuttled off to exile, and died a year later in France.

Friday, March 24, 2017


thanks vintage printable (PD)
Yes, it's Friday....time to come home after work, take a bath and do your own thing. This illustration from an 1869 book titled Les chats: histoire, moeurs, observations, anecdotes (Cats: History, morals, observations, anecdotes) is based on a watercolor by the great Swiss cat painter Gottfried Mind.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

a cat can smooch for a king

In which Louis XIV of France bestows upon a beautiful girl a treat/honor beyond compare (that is, if you're Louis XIV). . .

Louis XIV petted himself more than any living creature; yet he had some sympathy to spare for his numerous dogs; he even had their portraits painted, at a considerable cost; and he also, presumably, had a favorite cat—if the story in Swift’s Memoirs is one to be relied upon. This story is to the effect that during the reign of Queen Anne, a Miss Nelly Bennet, a young lady who took prestige as a great beauty, visited the French court.
She traveled in the care of witty Dr. Arbuthnot, who in a letter to the Dean, describes the outbursts of admiration that greeted his fair charge.  “She had great honours done her,” he remarks, then adds,“and the hussar himself was ordered to bring her the king’s cat to kiss."
When this important bit of news came to be reported in England, a wit, now unknown, wrote a poem on the event, describing how
When as Nelly came to France
(Invited by her cousins),
Across the Tuileries each glance
Killed Frenchmen by whole dozens.
The king, as he at dinner sat,
Did beckon to his hussar,
And bid him bring his tabby-cat
For charming Nell to buss her."
-- Lewis, E. (1892). Famous pets of famous people. Boston: D. Lothrop Company. 109-10.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

vintage wordless wednesday repeat

from my collection. i have to find more!