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 !

Sunday, July 22, 2018


public domain
1843: on a used envelope, the poet Elizabeth Barrett (not yet married to Robert Browning) makes a quick sketch of her cocker spaniel, Flush.  The next year she would write a long, ardent poem "To Flush, My Dog" with sentiments like these:
Like a lady's ringlets brown, 
Flow thy silken ears adown 
Either side demurely, 
Of thy silver-suited breast 
Shining out from all the rest 
Of thy body purely. 

If you've never read the poem before, or would like to again, here it is. Flush was later the subject of his own fictionalized biography by Virginia Woolf.

Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library. "Original pencil sketch of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog, Flush. " The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1764 - 1973. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c69fcf3d-dbe9-ff39-e040-e00a1806027d

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

vintage wednesday

Small dog, circa 1870, Dunedin, by Burton Brothers studio. Te Papa (O.034227)
I'm currently out of my own discoveries for Vintage Wednesday, but I found this fine portrait at the Museum of New Zealand's collection.  This was taken at the Burton Brothers studio in Dunedin, NZ.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

a cat's fond, funny sendoff

In which a cat has ceased to be, and his or her human smiles and praises through the tears.

So thou art dead, fair, fondest cat!
Whom more than horse or dog
I loved, because thou wert the best
In nature’s cat-alogue.

No matter what hour I came home,
Thou never showed’st surprise,
Nor reasons for my being late
Wou‘ld’st ever cat-echize.

While, were I wed, my staying out
Would meet with criticism
From angry spouse, and, I’ve no doubt,
Of tears a cat-aclysm.

And now the cat-enation long
Death breaks twixt thee and me,
And I am left alone to weep
O’er this cat-astrophe.

So good-bye—since a cat-acomb
Must hold thy youth and grace,
The motto I’ll place o’er thy grave
Is “Requies-cat in pace.”

Colton, Charles Joseph, 1868-1916. Volume of Various Verse. New Orleans: Press of Searcy & Pfaff, 1899. p. 87.

Monday, July 16, 2018

gold ring with dog, c. 1770-75

rijksmuseum.nl (PD)
Here is a simple wide gold band, made in the Netherlands around 1770-75.  Its only embellishment is a hunting dog's head in profile.  Here's a better look:

See how worn the ring is?  Someone wore this on their finger for a long time.  Was this just any dog, provided as a sign for fidelity, or a special little portrait to delight the ring wearer?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

ancient friends

http://collections.smvk.se/carlotta-mhm/web/object/3203029 (PD)
They may be crudely chiseled of limestone, but you can feel the happiness of this pair.  A smiling woman sits with her impressively pawed dog, sharing eternity.  Not a bad way to spend it.  These two were found during the Swedish Cyprus Expedition of 1927-1931, and date from either the first or second Cypro-Classical period (475-323 BC).  Go to the page for this item at Varldskultur Museerna Medelhavet for several more views of this affecting piece.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

tiny ride

Gift of Elizabeth, Julie, and Catherine Andrus in memory of John and Marion Andrus
collections.artsmia.org (PD)
Which Aesop's Fable is this?  I thought I knew/could find every one, but I don't know yet which improving tale belongs to this "Horse with Two Monkeys and a Dog." The Flemish engraver Nicolaes de Bruyn created this scene in 1594 as an illustration to a book of fables.  It's another tiny artwork:  1 5/16" x 2 3/8", and yet full of action.  Every player seems to be mugging for the spectator, particularly the monkey in the upper right and the horse. If you have a hard time looking at it on this page, try this link to its page at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Monday, July 09, 2018

dr. seuss' dogs and other tidbits

I can always count on the Guardian online to offer up something interesting.  Here's what I found today without even trying:
Photoessay on Dr. Seuss's dogs, including his childhood pet Rex, who sometimes decided to walk on three of his four feet
In Japan, the Kofukuji temple provides funerals for defunct Aibo robot dogs.  Love is where you find it.
I don't know Britt Collins, but we feel a lot alike about cats.
Barbra Streisand cloned her dog - twice!  Did you know that?
Why are kittens so cute? No, seriously, inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

the king's white squirrel

David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
He's an odd-looking fellow, but he seems happy enough to stay put and have a nibble.  This is a white squirrel presented as a gift to Sweden's King Charles XI in July of 1696. He liked it so much that he commissioned its portrait from court painter David Klocker Ehrenstrahl, a prolific Rococo-influenced artist whose work encompassed the royal horses as well as the courtiers.  Ehrenstrahl also painted this sympathetic portrait of a dog with short spine syndrome.