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 !

Monday, October 24, 2016

songs for your dog: "daddy wouldn't buy me a bow-wow"

british library pd
I've got a little cat
And I'm very fond of that
But I'd rather have a bow-wow...

London, 1892.  (I have a friend who says "You can always tell when you're at a chick flick when the first things you see on the screen are the words 'London, 1895.' ")  Songsmith Joseph Tabrar writes a cutesy little tune for comedienne, clog-dancer, and music-hall star Vesta Victoria.  It's about a little girl who has a cat, but really wants a dog.  She performs it dressed in a child's frock and holding a kitten. No one is fooled (she was not a small lady).  Here's a snippet of Vesta performing the song.  I've also found a wonderful blogpost containing Vesta Victoria's own story of how she received the kitten who costarred in that first performance.
"Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow" was a popular song in and out of the various decades.  For extra hilarity, check out this clip of Helen Mirren and Peter Sellars singing it in "The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu" (1980).
You can see the lyrics here at Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

a well tailed pug

Susanna Duncombe (née Susanna Highmore)
Three Sketches of a Pug Dog
Photographic Rights © Tate (2015)
Available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported) licence
The artist and poet Susanna Duncombe (English, c 1830 - 1812) was the daughter of the artist Joseph Highmore.  Though talented, she seems to have engaged in the creation of art primarily as a pastime; she was married to the politician John Duncombe, and didn't need to rely on her brush for her living.  This sketch must be of one or more of her pets, who may have been crossed with marmosets (kidding).  If you have a pug with such a lavish tail, I want to know.

Friday, October 21, 2016

friday fun, courtesy of 1903

A Raging, Roaring Lion, of a Lamb-devouring kind, 
Reformed and led a sweet, submissive life.
For with face all steeped in smiles
He propelled a Lamb for miles,
And he wed a woolly Spinster for a wife.

You need to see the excellent illustration for that - and you can, on page 11 of Joseph Greene Francis's  A book of cheerful cats and other animated animals (New York: The Century Co., 1903).
Here's the link to it at Internet Archive, where you may page through it there or download it for your superlatively goofy pleasure.  Plenty of innocent silliness and critters caught in non-sequiturs!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"tis good to watch"

thanks archive.org; not in copyright (PD)
This is a page of illustrated mottos, found in a book published in 1735 by Richard Ware.  Here's the whole title (take a  deep breath):
Emblems, for the entertainment and improvement of youth: containing hieroglyphical and enigmatical devices, relating to all parts and stations of life: together with explanations and proverbs in French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin, alluding to them and translated into English : the whole curiously engrav'd on 62 copper plates
Do you have a saying that keeps you going through the tough times?  Perhaps you would find it in this book and have a convenient emblem to keep in your sight for the encouragement thereof.  Here's a couple that struck my fancy from the page above:

13, a rabbit on the edge of its burrow: 'Tis good to watch.

7.  A hog among flowers: They do not suit well.

Anything here that speaks to you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

a large dog is no respecter of judges

Landseer, A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society, 1831. (PD)
Here's a story about John Philpot Curran, Master of the Rolls in Ireland (1750-1817), who for all his wit and legal acumen was unable to persuade a dog on one very memorable occasion:
* * *
Curran, who was always punctual when invited to a dinner-party, had received one day a special invitation; but the patience of everybody was long exhausted, when the guests concluded he must have been drowned, and all the stableboys went out with lanterns to search for his body in the river. After many disappointments a maid at last discovered him stark naked and shivering in a bedroom where he had gone to take a bath. The Newfoundland dog of the house was lying watching him, and ready to spring the moment he moved, as it did not know him when stripped of his usual dress. He had been kept at bay in this situation for some hours, and was afraid to stir lest the avenging guardian should seize him by the throat. At last the master of the house appeared upon the scene, and rescued the naked figure from premature destruction, put him to bed under a heavy pile of blankets and administered brandy and water hot, by which means he was sufficiently brought round to relate his hairbreadth escape.

-- Engelbach, A. Harold. (1913). Anecdotes of bench and bar. London: G. Richards. 191-2.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

phar lap turns 90

Copyright Museum Victoria / CC BY
Photographer: Benjamin Healley
Museum Victoria
A hero from Down Under, the racehorse Phar Lap was born in New Zealand, trained in Australia, and lauded the world over.  His untimely and tragic death was a mystery for years, all the more so since he was only 6 and a half years old (Oct. 1926- to April 1932).    His mounted hide (shown here) is displayed at the National Museum of Victoria in Melbourne, his skeleton at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and his heart is in storage with the National Museum of Australia collections.
It's been 90 years since Phar Lap's birth, and the National Museum has a fascinating collection of articles to celebrate this champion.  Here's the link.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

pensive pair, 1866

thanks wikiart.org. (PD)
Camille Doncieux is shown here modeling for Claude Monet in 1866, a year when she well might have been lost in thought: in August of the next year she would give birth to Monet's son Jean, but they would not marry till 1870.  I'm afraid that her life even in overview makes for melancholy reading.  I hope this was her own dog cuddling close to her to give comfort and support - something dogs do so well when people often do not.

Friday, October 14, 2016

odds and ends for friday

A Friday list:
Somebody tried to set gallerist Sean Kelly's dogs on fire. (He didn't make it though.)
How did I miss this "Illustrated Study of Black Cats" last December?
Sheer delight!  Cats memorialized in bronze, worldwide!
How bad would it have to be to put a cat up as a model for polite behavior?
1920: H.P. Lovecraft writes a typically creepy short story championing cats.

We have a recordbreaking storm coming in here the Pacific NW, so I'll post this now before the power blows.  Stay safe all, and if you're up here with me, get all your tribe inside!