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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 !

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

quick extra post: i bring you a knightly guineapig

(I found him on Reddit.)  He must be a noble cavy; he's wearing armor.

the irishman's pet

The following note on the favorite Irish pet is found in a book of essays on the nations of the world. . .
* * *
The pig is the favourite animal. The Irish treat him as kindly as their children, give him a corner of the hut, and share their milk, and potatoes, and bread with him. At last the day comes when the pig must be taken to be sold. The master ties a wisp of straw round piggy's hind leg, and so he drives him along the road, till he comes to the ship in which poor piggy is to sail for England. The Irishman is very sorry to lose his pet—his pig. It is very droll to see the pigs put on board the ships, and to hear their masters bidding them good-bye.
* * *
But wait! Here's some bonus observations on the Irish people!
* * *
Dress. — Rags. This is the dress of the poor Irish. They do not mend their clothes, so the holes get larger and larger. Their coats are made of a gray woollen cloth called "frieze," and they are worn till they drop off the back: first one tail of the coat comes off, then the other, and then the sleeves disappear, till at length nothing but a heap of rags remains. Their hats often get wet with the rain, and at last the crown comes out, yet they are worn as long as they will stick on the head. . .
Character.—What sort of people are the Irish? The merriest, drollest people in the world. They are very kind and good-natured when pleased, but if affronted, are filled with rage. The poor men are fond of drinking and keeping company with their friends; but they often quarrel with them, and then they call them names and throw things at them, and cover them with bruises. . .
* * *
From Favell Lee Mortimer, The countries of Europe described: with anecdotes and numerous illustrations (New York: G.S. Appleton, 1850) pp. 51-54.  Mrs. Mortimer was an English Evangelical author of educational texts; her travel books are particularly notable given that she left England only twice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

fierce dogs of the chase!

via discarding images. thanks. LA, Getty, Ms. 27, fol. 81v
Brittany, around 1430:  the great sportsman Gaston Phoebus (Count of Foix; 1331-91) settles down to write a masterwork on his favorite activity.  He calls it the Livre de la Chasse (Book of the Hunt) and dedicates it to Philip the Bold.  He doesn't create the illuminations, but they're part of the reason people treasure this book and know his name.  Here are some fierce dogs on the task, but would you like to see some more of the book's rich illustrations?  You may see some pages here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

a dog-paced trip to the country

thanks wikimedia commons (PD: old; PD:US)
On a Country Outing (Partie de campagne) the woman's got the reins of the situation, but she's taking it slow.  I can tell because the dog is loping along behind, even though there's room in the cart.  This sunny, tenderly tinted lithograph of 1897 shows a sweeter side of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.  Here he shows us the open promise of a smooth road ahead, a gently-paced getaway to share with friends of the two and four footed kind.  Do notice how well-observed the cart is, and how nimble the lines are which make up its structure.  Look also at how line is used to show the soft flowing fur of the dog as he moves forward.  Delicate lines in both cases, but adapted just so for each use.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

a thoughtful rabbit for your easter

thanks wikimedia commons (PD:100)
Here's Hans Hoffmann (German, 1530-1591), considered the best of the Albrecht Durer copyists, with a remake of Durer's Hare.  We last saw him revamp a Durer squirrel.  As with that work, here we see an animal less feral, wiry and wary.  This animal is plumper, more relaxed.  Durer's hare has a cold bright appraisal in his eyes; here we see more curiosity than fear, borne out by a comfortable slump over one paw.  Notice the "AD" monogram below the nose.  Hoffmann wasn't trying to fool anyone, but he didn't replicate his Durers stroke for stroke for the most part.  Was he trying to create the kinder, gentler Durer, or is this an example of how an artist's base nature will out?
In any case, he's a friendly face for your holiday.  Rabbits are a Christian symbol of rebirth and resurrection, and I wish you all the renewed vitality of this new season (depending on which side of the world I find you!).

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

friday pet facts from hither and yon

In 1924 a black Labrador was sentenced to life in prison for catslaughter.  Or was he?  Don't let the mug shot fool you.

The Dickin Medal is awarded in the United Kingdom and "acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war, worldwide."  It has been awarded to one cat, three horses, twenty-eight dogs, and thirty-two pigeons.

A bizarre and charming vintage photo of a German soldier with a kitten.  And a whole big bunch of Russian military cat photos (Russian captions, natch). Sailors love kitties, I'm telling you.

Astronomer Edwin Hubble's favorite cat was named Nicholas Copernicus.  Read about their relationship.

A long read but worthy: Adam Gopnik muses on how the dog became our master in this New Yorker essay.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

a cat wigs out...of town

From a chatty volume of anecdotes dating from 1830's London, a story about a cat who found a hopefully comfortable way to travel.  (I personally hope the creature got spoiled thereafter as she deserved.)
* * *
Cat Anecdote.—During Sergeant Talfourd's recent sojourn at Shrewsbury Assizes, a cat was very fond of the learned counsellor's room. His clerk, while packing up, had occasion to leave one of the trunks open, and in the hurry of departure closed it suddenly, and corded it for the journey. On arriving at Hereford, a strange noise was heard to proceed apparently from one of the trunks. The clerk proceeded to open it, when, lo! out jumped the identical cat of Shrewsbury memory, which, on further examination, it appeared, had deposited "a batch of fine young kittens" in the learned sergeant's wig.—Hereford Journal.

--The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, vol. 21, Reuben Percy & John Timbs, editors (J. Limbird, 1833) p. 304

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

vintage photo time

all images from the museum collection

This last one is the only image with any sort of explanation: on the back, "Spokane Wa."