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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 !

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

dog as art critic?

Readers of the Spectator write in with tales of their dogs' eye for portraiture.  (Bonus cat appraiser.)

[May 5, 1894.]
In the Spectator of April 21st there is an article on Apes, in which the following occurs :— "Monkeys, we believe, alone among animals can recognise the meaning of a picture." It may interest some of your readers to hear that certain other animals can also do this, two instances having come under my own observation. A cat belonging to a little girl I know was on the child's bed one morning, and made a spring at a picture of a thrush, about life-size, which was hanging near. The other case is that of a dog— a female Irish terrier—who is in the habit of running with her mistress's pony carriage. When she sees the pony being harnessed, she often shows her delight by jumping up at its head and barking. In a certain shop to which she sometimes goes with her mistress there is a picture of a horse hanging. The dog invariably behaves in exactly the same manner to this, jumping up and barking at it, thus showing unmistakably that she recognises its meaning.
 - Julia Andrews.

May 19, 1894.
The following instance bears on the subject discussed in the Spectator of May 5th. We had for a newcomer to our circle a little terrier dog. I was informed it had been seen in the library facing a large-sized portrait of myself, and barking furiously. I was somewhat sceptical until a day or two later I saw it repeat the performance. I have wondered whether it was because the dog thought it a good or bad representation of the original, and so was complimenting or otherwise the artist.
 - Frank Wright.

from Dog Stories from the "Spectator": Being Anecdotes of the Intelligence, Reasoning Power, Affection and Sympathy of Dogs, Selected from the Correspondence Columms of "The Spectator." Macmillan, 1895. p. 124.

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