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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 !

Sunday, March 20, 2011

early american squirrel

public domain; wikimedia commons
Around 1755-1760 in New England (probably Boston MA), a well-to-do boy and girl stand very politely as Mr. Badger paints their portrait. The little girl in yellow has a "teething coral," which were commonly given to children young enough to be cutting teeth, and actually made of coral. (Doesn't that sound like it would hurt?)
What we really want to see is the boy's prize. It's a squirrel on a chain, perched as if on a shelf due to the painter's limited technical ability. You see this stiff, collage-like quality a lot in early American painting, and I think it has its own charms. As for why the squirrel had to be on a chain, instead of a ribbon or such soft thing, remember squirrels open nuts with those teeth of theirs. It's got to be metal to keep your squirrel handy. Extra prize: read this very fine and interesting article I've found on "wild" Colonial American pets.

This oil painting is attributed to Joseph Badger (1707-1765).

3 comments:

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

how appropriate that I would discover your blog today and become one of your newest followers!

OMG I ADORE SQUIRRELS! I am a squirrel freak! They are such intelligent and industrious creatures!

I don't know how I didn't know about your blog (til today) I heard about it from Katnip Lounge and Ann (Careers For Your Cat, don't ask me to spell her last name!)
It is my pleasure to be here!

curator said...

Well, welcome! I too am very fond of squirrels (you probably saw that on the Museum's Facebook page). Thank you so much for your kind words and the blog follow! I need to go on over to yours and enjoy in turn.

Winnie said...

I don't want to be rude or anything...but I don't think that guy was the best painter in the world.

I love squirrels too....Well, I'm sure I would if I was able to catch one of them when they strutt around our garden. I keep trying.

Love and licks, Winnie