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 !

Thursday, September 21, 2017

a 14th century cat door

art.thewalters.org CC0 license
The 14th-century French cat that used this kitty door must have been a scrawny, hardworking petit chat indeed.  This fine example of feline ingress (and egress, and ingress - do cats go in and out as much when they are calling the shots?) is found at this page of the the Walters Art Museum.  There you'll find that while not many examples of cat doors have survived from the Middle Ages, no less a source than Geoffrey Chaucer mentions one in "The Miller's Tale."  There's also one at Manchester, England's Chetham Library, in a door dating from 1421.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

vintage wordless wednesday

a new one finally!  bought in astoria 9-16-17

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

elegant yarns in five colors


(PD, CC:0)
"Elegant yarns in five colors." That's the literal translation from the German title of this work as found at the Museum fur Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg: "Elegante Garne in funf Farben."  That must be what Utagawa Toyokuni I (Japanese, 1769-1825) has shown piled up there in the left hand corner of this woodblock print.  Really it seems to be a gambit for showing this willowy beauty in her barefoot relaxation, her bright robes falling away in patterned layers.  Then, of course, we have a sassy black and white kitten in the mix, who doesn't want to be held right now and doesn't care if she takes a few of those nice robes with her!  She's probably headed for that elegant yarn, you know.

Monday, September 18, 2017

member of the wedding


Your friendly Curator was off on a weekend full of art openings (one) and lovely wedding celebrations (two).  At the first wedding, there were groomsmen, bridesmaids...and a groomsdog and bridesdog.  Up above, a reflective snap taken after the ceremony, as the bridesdog reflects upon Life and Happily Ever After, or perhaps simply didn't feel like getting up.
(Brides)doghance...

Friday, September 15, 2017

a saint bernard for showing off

Rug - Saint Bernard dog, circa 1885, Wellington, by Mary Hannah Tyer.
Bequest of Mrs Mary H. Quin, 1956. 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (PC000250/1)
Be sure to click on the image above and see if you can get a better look at this rug.  Meticulously crafted in 1885, it has a high level of detail - the dog even has a glass bead for its eye.  You won't be surprised that this lovely object was called out for special praise at the 1885 New Zealand Industrial Exhibition.  You may be surprised that this was crafted by a teenager: 15-year-old Mary Tyer.
There's an interesting larger history about this rug; its creation was encouraged by a government that believed in the creativity of New Zealanders both inside and outside the home.  Read an enjoyable essay on Mary, her rug, and the Industrial Exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand) here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

wordless vintage wednesday redux

another rerun from the collection

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

how to bet on a cat and win

thanks pixabay (PD)
From Charles H. Ross's curious collection of cat stories (1868): a story, very likely apocryphal, on how to bet on cats and win.
It is stated in a Japanese book that the tip of a Cat's nose is always cold, except on the day corresponding with our Midsummer-day. This is a question I cannot say I have gone into deeply. I know, however, that Cats always have a warm nose when they first awaken from sleep. All Cats are fond of warmth. I knew one which used to open an oven door after the kitchen fire was out, and creep into the oven. One day the servant shut the door, not noticing the Cat was inside, and lighted the fire. For a long while she could not make out whence came the sounds of its crying and scratching, but fortunately made the discovery in time to save its life. A Cat's love of the sunshine is well known, and perhaps this story may not be unfamiliar to the reader :—
One broiling hot summer's day Charles James Fox and the Prince of Wales were lounging up St. James's street, and Fox laid the Prince a wager that he would see more Cats than his Royal Highness during their promenade, although the Prince might choose which side of the street he thought fit. On reaching Piccadilly, it turned out that Fox had seen thirteen Cats and the Prince none. The Prince asked for an explanation of this apparent miracle.
"Your Royal Highness," said Fox, "chose, of course, the shady side of the way as most agreeable. I knew that the sunny side would be left for me, and that Cats prefer the sunshine."
Ross, C. H. 1842?-1897. (1868). The book of cats: a chit-chat chronicle of feline facts and fancies, legendary, lyrical, medical, mirthful and miscellaneous. London, England: Griffith and Farran. 61-2.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

riotous drapery

yale university art gallery (PD)
Around 1720-30 some nameless artist created this oil portrait of "A Hudson Valley Lady with Dog and Parrot."  There's a charming primitive feel to this work, though drapery was definitely the painter's strong point.  Stop and look at how that pink wrap is so animated it's practically a player in and of itself.  Now we're going to see the parrot. . .


Sort of pigeon-y, this parrot, but I like him.  Speaking of animated. . .


. . .that dog has been caught in mid-flail, wanting that parrot so badly.  What a charming, funny scene.  Whomever the lost painter might have been, I hope he (or she!) enjoyed the work.