About Me

My photo
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 !

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

happy halloween, happy harvest

By Grigoriev (http://www.artknowledgenews.com/Page-207.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The harvest is in, the spirits are out.  In Boris Grigoriev's "Still Life with Cat and Onions" (Russian; circa 1928), this fine black kitty seems to take her duties overseeing this world and the next very seriously.

From our haunt to yours, dear Museum friends,
Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

a kitten muses on a puppy

It's been a great while since I featured anything by that jolly celebrant of all things cat and kitten, Oliver Herford.  Here is a selection from his book The Kitten's Garden of Verses, in which the creature known as a Puppy is considered:

The Puppy
The Puppy cannot mew or talk,
He has a funny kind of walk,
His tail is difficult to wag
And that's what makes him walk zigzag.

He is the Kitten of a Dog,
From morn till night he's all agog —
Forever seeking something new
That' s good but isn't meant to chew.

He romps about the Tulip bed,
And chews the Flowers white and red,
And when the Gardener comes to see
He's sure to blame mamma or me.

One game that cannot ever fail
To please him is to chase his tail—
(To catch one's tail, 'twixt me and you,
Is not an easy thing to do.)

If he has not a pretty face
The Puppy's heart is in its place.
I'm sorry he must grow into
A Horrid, Noisy Dog, aren't you?

-- Herford, Oliver, 1863-1935. The Kitten's Garden of Verses. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911. 39-40.

Friday, October 27, 2017

greyboy pet prints

all images copyright and by kindest permission of the artist, m. pratt
One of the sincerest functions of art is its service to memory, both as an aid and a tribute.  California artist Mandi Pratt uses her skills in photography and printmaking to this end through her studio, Greyboy Pet Prints.  Would you like a photography session?  She'll ask you for your pet's story, learn about his or her personality, and make a comfortable, natural experience so your pet's true self can shine. 

Perhaps you'd rather have an artistic etching created from a photo you love; perhaps your pet is now with you only in memory.  The lovely thing about an etching is how it can bring a particular tactile quality to what you remember.  And if you wish, Pratt can include a very small bit of your pet's ashes into the etching ink.

She kindly shared a couple of photos that illustrate the etching process: wiping down an etched plate...

...and pulling a print from an inked plate.

Visit Greyboy Pet Prints here.  And don't miss Greyboy on Instagram!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

vintage wordless wednesday

from the museum archives

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

dog badge

www.rijksmuseum.nl (PD)
Here's what amounts to a landscape in one piece of jewelry:  this silver badge at the Rijksmuseum, created circa 1784-87, shows a wolfy-looking keeshond in his front yard.  There's his house, his dish, his shady tree.  There's also a chain - but not on him!  Why does the chain lie upon the ground?  Is he free to go?  Was this a reward to someone faithful, or a statement of pride?  Here's the object's page at the Rijksmuseum.

Monday, October 23, 2017

the jumping dogs of the folies bergere, 1890

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90041108  (National Library of France; PD)
"The Jumping Dogs, presented by Fred Leslie."  I can't find anything about this act, but I did find a Fred Leslie, an English actor and comedian active at this time.  Wonder if it was the same man?  And did you know you can still go to the Folies Bergere?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

rent a cat 5 euros

photo copyright and by kind permission of candace r
From my friend Candace's recent travels in Greece and Bulgaria, here's a (joking) sign for the local kitty rental.

Friday, October 20, 2017

appreciating a caged bird

thanks reusableart.com (PD)

The Caged Canary

Morning fair to night succeeds;
Baby's laughing at the fire;
My canary shells his seeds,
And scrapes his beak against the wire.

Now he's tweet-a-tweeting loud,
Ruffling up his wings and neck;
Now he sleeks his plumage proud,
Cleans it clear of spot or speck.

Now with golden feathers flirting
Water over golden sand;
Now his twittering and chirping
Turns to music loud and grand.

What a carol! Why, I'm certain
It would nearly fill a church;
And he sings, and sings, until he
Almost tumbles off his perch.

Oh! my golden, gay canary,
Singing sweetly in all weathers,
Take the thanks of little Mary,
With the sunshine on your feathers!

Grateful for the smallest favours,
Only sand, and seed, and water—
With your gracious, gay behaviours,
Sweet the lesson you have taught her.

Gemmer, C. M. Children of the Sun, Etc., Etc., Etc.: Poems for the Young. London: F. Warne , 1869.127-8. F. Warne was Beatrix Potter's publisher.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ever wonder why they're called "milk-bones"? here's why

thanks pixabay (CC0 creative commons). no clue on the backstory
Milk-Bones.  They've been a handy dog-treat staple for seemingly forever, but did you ever ask yourself why they're called "milk" bones instead of "meat" bones?  The answer involves the year 1907, an organic chemist, a great deal of milk (from a slaughterhouse, sadly), and the chemist's discerning dog.  Atlas Obscura has the story here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

wordless vintage wednesday redux

another from the museum collection, purchased in eureka ca 2012

Monday, October 16, 2017

a spiffy guardian for your purse

Raymond and Frances Bushell Collection (AC1998.249.94) www.lacma.org
Who's a good boy?  This boy is, and by the look of him he knows it.  This ivory netsuke is only 2.25" tall, but full of himself.  You can thank the 18th-c netsuke master Gechu for that (at least, that's who gets the credit for him in current scholarship). 
Do any of my readers remember Sister Wendy Beckett's art history series on PBS?  Even if you don't, you'll enjoy and benefit from her essay on another of Gechu's netsukes, here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

white mice have fun c. 1816

H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
In this happy surimono (color woodblock print), Kubo Shunman shows us "White Mice Playing." Shunman was a novelist and poet as well as an artist; I bet that's a poem written to the right, but alas, I cannot read it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

wordless vintage wednesday redux

from the museum collection, first posted 2012

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Somewhere in the files of the Wellcome Library you'll find "A Sleeping Cat," a Japanese work in gouache dating to the 19th century.

Monday, October 09, 2017

grey spots, a blue sky

Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
"A Grey Spotted Hound" stands at proud attention with his prey, a bird draped open-beaked at his feet (ah, poor thing). This oil on panel portrait was created in 1738 by John Wootton (British, 1682-1764), in his time considered one of the best painters of sporting life.  In the 1720's he studied in Rome as Baroque art was entering its final years.  To me that explains the deep, warm color of the background, its long scope, and the clarity of this piece's details, and how this splendidly-coated fellow stands with such presence. 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

a chipmunk does a hat

By Gilles Gonthier from Canada
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In which Anna Botsford Comstock relates the tale of a pet chipmunk with a taste for nuts and fashion, in that order...
Miss Irene Hardy, of Palo Alto, Cal., has had marked success in making pets of the little chipmunks of the Sierras. One called Chipsy was especially interesting. He was allowed the freedom of her room, and after she had filled the dish on the table with English walnuts, he would keep himself busy for a long time stealing and hiding them. His originality in finding hiding places was remarkable. Once he managed to get his nuts and himself into a covered bandbox on the closet shelf and stored his precious walnuts in the velvet bows of a bonnet. His unsuspecting mistress wore the bonnet thus decorated to church and did not discover the work of her new milliner until after she returned.

-- Anna Botsford Comstock, The Pet Book (Ithaca NY: The Comstock Publishing Company, 2nd ed., 1915) p. 84.

Friday, October 06, 2017

rita on a rainy afternoon

image copyright and by kindest courtesy of the artist
That's the title of this charming piece by L.A. artist Stephanie Birdsong.  Rita's looking out the window at a friend across the way - see him?  He's above the bookstore.  It's a completely plausible situation, presented as the coziest escape.  I wish I were sitting at the table with her.
"Rita on a Rainy Afternoon" and many other bright jolly scenes are available at Birdsong's Etsy shop.
Just for instance, here's a few I also loved -
The elegant Sneaky Panther
Go and find some fun!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

wordless vintage wednesday redux

another replay from the museum collection

Monday, October 02, 2017

this pug personifies monday

www.metmuseum.org (PD)
Lesley and Emma Sheafer , New York (until 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
This weekend I had a lovely overnight at Thornewood Castle.  Now it is Monday, and I think this Staffordshire ware pug from around 1720-40 encapsulates my feelings better than I can myself.