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 !

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

hoo-hoo cat 1920

google advanced booksearch (believed PD in good faith)

From  The Lumber Manufacturer and Dealer, Volume 66, July 19 1920 p. 57.  Poor scrappy cat!  He should renew his membership in the International Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal society for those involved in the lumber industry.  Though more sedate now, this organization began in a jolly, freewheeling vein.  You'll enjoy reading about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

togetherness: a captain and his dog

thanks wikimedia commons (PD:US)
What an affectionate dog.  He must have been attracted by the sound of the flute his master was playing.  This is the portrait of Captain Stevens, painted circa 1795 by the British artist Francis Wheatley (1747-1801).  Wheatley's bio on Wikipedia is brief, but packs a punch or two: huge debts, elopement to Ireland with another man's wife, eventual marriage to one of his models (whom after his death became Mrs. Alexander Pope, and thereby wife to one of the greatest British poets).  Of this wistful captain and his fluffy friend, we know no more; only that Wheatley painted him in an academic but romantic manner, restrained, yet still with an aura of yearning.

Monday, July 21, 2014

byron appreciates a watchdog

. . . ’T is sweet to hear the watch-dog’s honest bark
  Bay deep-mouth’d welcome as we draw near home;
’T is sweet to know there is an eye will mark
  Our coming, and look brighter when we come.

George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan. Canto i. Stanza 123.  Found on Bartleby.com .

Sunday, July 20, 2014

1870 lolcats: harry pointer

thanks wikimedia commons (PD)
In the city of Brighton, England, during the 1870s, a jolly-looking photographer named Harry Pointer (1822-89) has been taking successful portrait and kitty photos.  Nothing special, but he does well enough for himself.  Then he realizes that cats are extra funny when they pose, say, on a little bicycle, or on rollerskates (see above); and then he tries out a caption or two.  People love them.  His cat snaps become a series of "The Brighton Cats."  And you may see a bunch of them here.  (Don't use the biographical link on that page - go here.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

the perfect mantel for dog lovers

courtesy national gallery of art, accession no.1943.8.8241
Somewhere in the files of the National Gallery of Art this is filed away: a watercolor/ink/graphite rendering of the coolest mantel design you'll never have.  The artist is listed only as "Henry Murphy, active c. 1935," and this Mantel Carving (Dog's Head) is dated c. 1938.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

cats short and sweet: haiku

Old haiku in their original Japanese (note the 5-7-5 syllable arrangement), and in translation:

Uki tomo ni
Kamarete neko no
Sora nagame

     (poet: Kyorai)
     Bit by a sorry mate, the cat
     Intently gazes at the sky.
Uki koi ni
Taete ya neko no

     (poet: Shiko)
     Weary perhaps of dolorous love,
     The cat has stolen a bit to eat.
Neko no koi
Shote kara naite
Aware nari

     (poet: Yaha, 1663-1740)
     A cat's amours :—from the beginning
     He caterwauls; he's to be pitied.

- from Chamberlain, Basil Hall, 1850-1935. Bashō And the Japanese Poetical Epigram. [S.1.: s.n., 1902, passim.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

come hither x2

thanks wikimedia commons (PD:US)
Guess the name of this lovely woman.  Go on, take a wild stab.  No?
All right, I'll tell you - this is Luisa Maria Amelia Teresa of Naples and Sicily, Princess of Naples and Sicily, Grand Duchess Consort of Tuscany, wife of Archduke Ferdinand III of Tuscany.
She lived from 1773 to 1802, and was Marie Antoinette's niece.  This portrait was done by the Hungarian artist Joseph Dorffmeister in 1797, in high European court style.

No idea what the dog was called.  But this is one of the best examples I've ever seen of a double-barrelled come-hither look.

marc three (cats)

thanks de.wikipedia.org (PD:US)
Another piece by my beloved Franz Marc (1880-1916), this time an ink drawing of Drei Katzen ("Three Cats").  I can't come up with a date for this, but it might be around 1911-1913.  That would be before his work became markedly more abstract, though you can perhaps see that starting to happen in the angularity of these tabbies.  The top one reminds me of Elizabeth as a small unsteady kitten.