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 !

Friday, February 05, 2016

pangolin bangle

british library on flickr. (PD)
The explanatory citation at the British Library's Flickr collection consists of this tantalizing snippet: "Image taken from page 465 of 'A Voyage in the “Sunbeam.” Our home on the ocean for eleven months ... With 188 illustrations ... chiefly after drawings by the Hon. A. Y. Bingham. [With a preface by Lord Brassey.]'"
So many questions.  Who were the Brasseys? What is a manis?  How did they get one?  How quickly can I post this awesomeness to the Museum?  
A manis is an old term for a pangolin, taken from the species name (for example, the Common Pangolin is Manis temminckii).  Here's how the Brasseys got one.  Anna, Baroness Brassey accompanied her husband Lord Brassey on a number of voyages in their yacht "Sunbeam."  On one of these they were guests of the Maharajah of Johore, who upon their departure presented them with many gifts. One of these was "...a live little beast, not an alligator, and not an armadillo or a lizard; in fact I do not know what it is; it clings round my arm just like a bracelet, and it was sent as a present by the ex-Sultan of Johore."  By the time Anna Brassey's book was illustrated, someone had figured out it was a pangolin.  Wonder how long the little guy lasted.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

vintage wordless wednesday

thanks noun pdx. i own this.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

take the rat taste out

cat and mouse in partnership, walter crane. (PD)
"Me-ow! me-ow!" the brindle cat
Is calling at the door,
"I've had enough," she says, "of rat,
And now want something more;
A little milk, if it's about,
To take the rat taste out."
The brindle cat says naught but "me-ow" —
The only word she knows —
A word that seems to tell somehow
All her delights and woes.
(All words are empty sounds unless
Some feeling gives them stress.)
The brindle cat is cousin to
The screechowl, I believe.
Sometimes she cries the whole night through
And dodges all we heave,
And this one word makes all the row —
Me-ow! me-ow! me-ow!
But when she's lying on the rug
Contented as can be,
She sleeps and snores without a drug
Or any soothing tea.
And if one gently strokes her now
She'll softly answer, "me-ow."

-- From Secor, E. (1911). Verse for little folks and others. Des Moines, Ia.: Successful Farming. 33.

Monday, February 01, 2016

little lizzie lynch's sleepy friend

thanks the-athenaeum.org. (PD)
Here's "Little Lizzie Lynch" and a very relaxed kitten, as painted by Julian Alden Weir around 1910.  The grainy/brushy look of this piece, casual and intimate, is very appealing to me.  For a moment I thought perhaps it had been dashed off in pastels on a piece of brown paper on a whim, but no, it's oil on canvas.  Did you know Weir's Connecticut home is a National Historic Site?  I am sorry I never got to see it when I lived nearby.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

saint hugh's friends

thanks vintage printable (PD)
In an account of the Carthusian monks of Somerset, we learn this about the 12th-century Saint Hugh of Lincoln:
Like many another deeply religious man, St. Hugh had unbounded love to all living things. As at Villarbenoit, his care to serve his brethren had led to his being intrusted with the charge of his aged father, so now he was appointed to attend to all the personal wants of an old monk, who in return seems to have looked after his spiritual welfare. But his love did not show itself to his fellow-men only; it condescended also to the smaller beings of creation. The saint could find some solace for his combats with the evil one by taming the little birds and squirrels of that wild neighbourhood to come into his cell, where, during his meals, they would eat at his table, feeding out of his dish or from his hand. The stern Prior, however, forbade him even this one amusement, lest he should take too much pleasure in his dumb friends and allow them to interrupt his devotions. It was not till he got to Witham that he could indulge his affection for animals; there for three years a pet bird lived in his cell, taking its flight at nesting-time and returning later on with its fledgings as if to present them to him; but in the fourth year it came back no more, to his great vexation. Again, when Bishop of Lincoln, an unusually fine swan attached itself to him, showing as much affection for him as a dog.
One of Hugh's attributes is a swan, not surprisingly.  This great blog post will tell you all about Hugh and his buddy.

The excerpt is from: Thompson, E. Margaret. (1895). A history of the Somerset Carthusians. London: J. Hodges. 51-2.

Friday, January 29, 2016

pet owl 1942

Museum Victoria Collections
Accessed 30 January 2016. PD
In the district of Nathalia, Victoria, Australia, a lucky boy holds his pet owl.  I'd smile like that if I had an owl friend too.  This 1942 snap comes from the Museum Victoria Collections and is part of "The Biggest Family Album in Australia."  This is a special collection that gathered over 9000 family photos, creating an intimate look at the history and culture of Australia through the everyday lives of its people.  Here's an article on this wonderful project.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

spaniel and terrier

thanks the-athenaeum.org (PD US)
Not a fancy title for this oil painting by Samuel Fulton (Scottish, 1855-1941), and none needed.  Fulton's work consists primarily of dog portraits in a brushy academic style that breathes subtle life into the image. Most seem to have this level of one on one (ahem, two on one here) immediacy, as though he took time to know each dog and put it at however much ease he could.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

victorian dog shows

thanks karenswhimsy

Today I'm going to send you straight over to History Extra magazine for a fine article on the surprising history of Victorian dog shows.  Identity fraud, the physical turpitude of the lapdog, and jockeying for show primacy - it's all here.  Best in Show, 1860's edition!
Bonus find!  The significance of the British bulldog.