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 26, 2017

wordless vintage wednesday redux

another oldie but goodie from the museum archives

Monday, July 24, 2017

a dog to guard your moisturizer

Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
This pyxis (lidded vessel) from Greece dates from the 4th century BC.  A pyxis was for the most part a useful little box such as I have in my own drawer, full of my earrings - but mine is absolutely not as fancy as this.  This could have held cosmetics, jewelry, anything small that you needed to grab.  Other areas of this box show a bull and a griffin, so I'm being flip and choosy to say this handsome fellow is guarding your facegoop - but his playful alertness makes me wake up a bit this morning, and a bit more ready to face the day.  The bull and griffin are beautiful too.  You can see them in the additional views of this piece at the Walters Art Museum's online collection.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

dog cosy

Egg Cosy (England), ca. 1900; silk and linen on linen foundation;
H x W: 9 x 7.5 cm (3 9/16 x 2 15/16 in.); Gift of Sabina Gathedral; 1978-110-1
This lazy Sunday I'm bringing you a dog-headed egg cosy from the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt.  Tell me, does anyone still have boiled eggs in the morning and have they cozies for them?  Is this a lost craft/practice?  I'm interested in hearing from you.
Here's the link to the record for this object: http://cprhw.tt/o/2CMuv/

Friday, July 21, 2017

sam bough's beloved bulldog: beauty is only skin deep

Sam Bough (English, worked in Scotland; 1822-78) was a landscape artist with a certain rough charm if his biography is any indication.  Greatly fond of cats and dogs, one of his best-loved companions was a white one-eyed bulldog named "Madame Saachi."  Saachi was another one of those beings whose exterior belies their tender nature.  I've provided the longish excerpt below for the sheer color of the tale:
***
"Sacchi" was a small-sized, pure bred, white bull-bitch, with brown patch on one side of the head. It had a grand massive chest, and all the leading characteristics of its race, and was by far the most noted of all the artist's dogs. It was bred at Bilston, in Staffordshire, and had the misfortune to lose one of its eyes in a fight with a cat, when young. Bough told Thomas Fairbairn, the artist, that he bought "Sacchi" with a grand pedigree and had to pay handsomely for the bargain. . .
The gentlest and kindest of dogs, "Sacchi's" playful snort acted as a terror to timid people; while its deep growl was significant of danger even to the most courageous of those who came in daily contact with it. "Sacchi" was in the artist's possession for about ten years, and grew to be a dog of much knowledge and sagacity. If anyone chanced to be sitting in its master's chair on his return of an evening, "Sacchi" at once leaped up at the back of the chair, and kept edging round and working its nose in here, there, and everywhere in the most discomforting fashion, until the intruder was fairly ousted.
The dog, moreover, became very staid and regular in its habits; certainly much more so than its master could make any pretensions to be. If Bough happened to dine out, and was later than usual in returning home, it is said that "Sacchi" would scarcely deign to notice him on the following morning, and persistently refused to accompany him either to his studio or anywhere else for the time being. When under this spell, the utmost that much coaxing could extract from the dog was a listless wag or two of the tail, not the least effort to follow being discernible.
Soon after Bough had become the owner of "Sacchi," an intimate friend of his strolled into his studio. By way of introducing his new purchase to notice, the artist called out, "Sacchi, get up here—that's a good dog—and give the gentleman a kiss." Doing as it was bid, the dog leaped on the table, and fawningly lapped the cheek of Bough's friend with its tongue. Although dog and man became good friends from that day forward, the latter declared he never forgot the moment that the ungainly brute stood slobbering against his face, with its ugly mouth and dangerous looking teeth.
***
Upon Saachi's passing, the story continues, Bough donated her body to the Anatomical Museum in Edinburgh, where her skeleton was preserved as a fine example of the English bulldog.

Here's a link to Bough's self portrait with this loyal friend.

Gilpin, S. (1905). Sam Bough, R. S. A.: some account of his life and works. London: G. Bell. 163-5.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

vintage wordless wednesday

another repeat from the curatorial holdings
i really need to go treasure hunting

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

an arctic dog

James Ward, 1769–1859, British, Arctic Dog, Facing Left, undated, Graphite on medium, smooth, cream, wove paper, mounted on, modertately thick, slightly textured, beige, laid paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
One of the things I learned when I looked into the Royal Academician James Ward is that he's considered a largely neglected artist as far as art history is concerned.  I'm ready to back that up after several attempts to check links to this reference or that page only to find them 404'd out of what passes for memory these days.  Still, that doesn't change the fact that Ward was a powerful Romantic stylist with a great feel for the animals he portrayed.  While Romanticism with a capital R glorified the power of individual emotion and of nature, it also - in the best hands - knew how to find that in smaller subjects.  In this case, we have Ward taking a moment to rough out the intelligent, friendly face of an "Arctic dog," something - someone - new and different from the usual country hounds and horses.

Monday, July 17, 2017

grandmaster matouenpeluche

image copyright and by kindest permission of the artist
I do love to feature Samantha Battersby of matouenpeluche once in a while!  (Remember the last time?)  Here's Grandmaster Kitten, her tribute to Grandmaster Flash.  Read about it on her blog here.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

a duchess finds fellowship with rooks

thanks british library flickr
yes, I know they're ravens not rooks
you try finding PD images of rooks
Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia (1767-1820) became the Duchess of York upon her marriage to George III's son Prince Frederick, the Duke of York.  As we so often hear about the lives of the supposedly exalted, that didn't make for a happy ever after (not that her life had been all that happy before).  Having fallen out of love, and without hope of children, the couple separated; the Duchess retired to Oatlands Park in Weybridge, surrounding herself with pets.  Here's what a history of the
Oatlands estate records of her:
* * *
Her Royal Highness had an eccentric taste for keeping pet-dogs, and near the grotto there were between sixty and seventy small upright stones, inscribed with the names of an equal number of dogs, which were buried here by direction of the Duchess: she extended her kindness even to the rooks, which, when driven from the neighbouring fields, experienced a marked protection on this demesne, where, finding themselves in security, they soon established a flourishing rookery. This humane trait in the character of the Duchess was thus commemorated by Lord Erskine:

"At Oatlands, where the buoyant air
Vast crowds of Rooks can scarcely bear
What verdure paints returning spring!
What crops surrounding harvests bring!
Yet swarms on every tree are found,
Nor hear the Fowler's dreaded sound.
And when the Kite's resistless blow .
Dashes their scattered nests below,
Alarmed, they quit the distant field,
To seek the Park's indulgent shield;
Where close in the o'ershadowing wood
They build new castles for their brood,
Secure, their fair Protectress nigh
Whose bosom swells with sympathy."
***

-- Timbs, J. Abbeys, castles and ancient balls of England and Wales, their legendary lore, and popular history. Re-ed. by A. Gunn. London: Frederick Warne & Co., 1872. 147.

I found an article on the dogs' graves.  Here that is.