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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, January 12, 2014

landseer on the proper treatment of dogs

Landseer, "Low Life," 1829. thanks wikimedia cmmons
Sir Edwin Landseer (British; 1802-1873) was a truly great painter of dogs.  He wouldn't have been if he hadn't nourished a great love and respect for the species.  That last sentence is just my opinion, but I am bolstered by this passage from a biography, in which he's said to have some very modern attitudes:
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. . . He once said that no dog could endure being kept strictly on the chain for a longer period than three years (note this is quite a departure from common thought at that time, though dogs should never be chained of course - curator); that his heart would break, or his reason give way, in the interval. In the matter of cropping the ears of dogs he took a decided position against the custom, maintaining that animals who dig in the earth should have their ears protected, as Nature had provided. Landseer's public opposition to cropping had a great effect in causing it to be partly discontinued. 
He used to walk about sometimes with a body-guard of thorough-bred dogs, most of whom had been presented to him by patrician friends, and rejoiced in long and incomprehensible pedigrees. . .He also retained the acquaintance of many aristocratic dogs in the houses of the nobility, and great was the wagging of tails when he came to Woburn Abbey, or Taymouth Castle, or royal Windsor.

-- M.F. Sweetser, Artist-Biographies v. 15: Landseer.  (Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company, 1879), pp. 60-1.

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