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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 !

Saturday, April 18, 2015

fable: "the cat, the cock, and the young mouse"

spot illustration from the book
From an 1836 collection of fables, here's one on not trusting to appearances, written by Robert Dodsley in the 1700s:

A Young Mouse, that had seen very little of the world, came running, one day, to his mother in great haste: —“Oh! mother,” said he, “I am frightened almost to death! I have seen the most extraordinary creature that ever was. He has a fierce, angry look, and struts about upon two legs; a strange piece of flesh grows on his head, and another under his throat, as red as blood: he flapped his arms against his sides, as if he intended to rise into the air; and stretching out his head, he opened a sharp-pointed mouth so wide, that I thought he was preparing to swallow me up: then he roared at me so horribly, that I trembled every joint, and was glad to run home as fast as I could. If I had not been frightened away by this terrible monster, I was just going to commence an acquaintance with the prettiest creature you ever saw. She had a soft fur skin, thicker than ours, and all beautifully streaked with black and grey; with a modest look, and a demeanour so humble and courteous, that methought I could have fallen in love with her. Then she had a fine long tail, which she waved about so prettily, and looked so earnestly at me, that I do believe she was just going to speak to me, when the horrid monster frightened me away."
“Ah, my dear child!” said the mother, “you have escaped being devoured, but not by that monster you was so much-afraid of; which, in truth, was only a bird, and would have done you no manner of harm. Whereas, the sweet creature, of whom you seem so fond, was no other than a CAT; who, under that hypocritical countenance, conceals the most inveterate hatred to all our race, and subsists entirely by devouring Mice. Learn from this incident, my dear, never, while you live, to rely on outward appearances.”

Flowers of Fable. Selected from the best sources. (London: Tilt and Bogue), p. 335

Friday, April 17, 2015

white cat on bleu

Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, FOL-EF-449 (PD)
This Chat blanc sur fond blue micacé ("White cat on a blue mica background") was created by Alphonse Prosper Isaac (French, 1858-1924).  One of the group of Parisian artists first to spot the qualities of Japanese prints, he eventually gave up painting in order to pursue that style of printmaking.  Many of the work he produced is understated like this, saying everything with little.  Lovely.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

no doubt this is a beautiful dog embellishment

British Library HMNTS 010077.f.3. (PD) thanks europeana
Often I find 19th-century embellishment too heavyheanded for my personal taste (unless it's William Morris), but this has a playful Italianate feel to it that I like, and the smiling greyhound/whippet dogs only add to my pleasure.  This page decoration is taken from page 305 of a book in the British Library that dates from 1882, titled  Voyage au pays du Doute, accompli par Fortuné Rampal et raconté par J. Sigaux.  That translates to "Voyage to the Land of Doubt, done by Fortune Rampal and narrated by J. Sigaux." And while I can't dig up anything about the book's contents, I can point you to a collection of the illustrations in this book.  Not about dogs, apparently, but then that doesn't surprise me; dogs rarely doubt anything.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

vintage wordless wednesday

yet another bought at the fieldhouse of awesome stuff

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

a bunny button or two of lady jane grey

Long-eared Bunny, bright-eyed Bunny,
Bunny white and Bunny grey,
Oh, I think you are so funny
As I watch you at your play!
With your long legs and your short legs
How you spring and dart away!

Bright-eyed Bunny, long-eared Bunny,
Bunny grey and Bunny white,
On this morning warm and sunny
Would a run be great delight?
Oh, but if your door I opened
You would soon be out of sight!

-- Starring some button photos of Lady Jane Grey ("Jane" to her friends), courtesy of C. W.  The poem dates from 1885 and was found in a collection titled Chatterbox (J. Erskine Clarke, editor; Boston: Estes and Lauriat,  p. 317).

Monday, April 13, 2015

get off there cat

courtesy vintageprintable.com, believed PD in good faith
From a manuscript by the Italian natural historian Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605), here's a cat on the sink with a mouse.  I tried to make sense of the italic description at the side - Felis alter syriacus punctis (sp?) multis Irigritus (sp??) - but only came up with "cat many other points syriacus irigritus."  Perhaps he's telling us that domestic cats are in many points like their wild desert relatives.  This would explain the hunting, but not the constantly popping up where you've told them not to.

Friday, April 10, 2015

a winsome game marker

from the walters art museum, PD: CC-BY
This small dog figure dates from Egypt ca. 2850 BCE (Early Dynastic Period, late 1st-2nd dynasty).  He was found in Abydos, and made of hippo ivory.  He is identified as a game piece, and I thought he might be part of a set for an ancient Egyptian game we call Hounds and Jackals.  That can't be though because as you see here Hounds and Jackals is like cribbage. Perhaps it's from the game Menet.  Even so, look how personable he is with a minimum of detail but the cleanest and most understandable of forms.  Nothing extra, but all dog.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

a short kitty parade, 1822

from reusableart.com via wikimedia commons, PD
I've got nothing deep to say about this one.  It makes me smile, that's all.  (But they've passed by a rat - do you see it?)  From material printed in 1822 for A. K. Newman and Co.