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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 !

Friday, July 21, 2017

sam bough's beloved bulldog: beauty is only skin deep

Sam Bough (English, worked in Scotland; 1822-78) was a landscape artist with a certain rough charm if his biography is any indication.  Greatly fond of cats and dogs, one of his best-loved companions was a white one-eyed bulldog named "Madame Saachi."  Saachi was another one of those beings whose exterior belies their tender nature.  I've provided the longish excerpt below for the sheer color of the tale:
"Sacchi" was a small-sized, pure bred, white bull-bitch, with brown patch on one side of the head. It had a grand massive chest, and all the leading characteristics of its race, and was by far the most noted of all the artist's dogs. It was bred at Bilston, in Staffordshire, and had the misfortune to lose one of its eyes in a fight with a cat, when young. Bough told Thomas Fairbairn, the artist, that he bought "Sacchi" with a grand pedigree and had to pay handsomely for the bargain. . .
The gentlest and kindest of dogs, "Sacchi's" playful snort acted as a terror to timid people; while its deep growl was significant of danger even to the most courageous of those who came in daily contact with it. "Sacchi" was in the artist's possession for about ten years, and grew to be a dog of much knowledge and sagacity. If anyone chanced to be sitting in its master's chair on his return of an evening, "Sacchi" at once leaped up at the back of the chair, and kept edging round and working its nose in here, there, and everywhere in the most discomforting fashion, until the intruder was fairly ousted.
The dog, moreover, became very staid and regular in its habits; certainly much more so than its master could make any pretensions to be. If Bough happened to dine out, and was later than usual in returning home, it is said that "Sacchi" would scarcely deign to notice him on the following morning, and persistently refused to accompany him either to his studio or anywhere else for the time being. When under this spell, the utmost that much coaxing could extract from the dog was a listless wag or two of the tail, not the least effort to follow being discernible.
Soon after Bough had become the owner of "Sacchi," an intimate friend of his strolled into his studio. By way of introducing his new purchase to notice, the artist called out, "Sacchi, get up here—that's a good dog—and give the gentleman a kiss." Doing as it was bid, the dog leaped on the table, and fawningly lapped the cheek of Bough's friend with its tongue. Although dog and man became good friends from that day forward, the latter declared he never forgot the moment that the ungainly brute stood slobbering against his face, with its ugly mouth and dangerous looking teeth.
Upon Saachi's passing, the story continues, Bough donated her body to the Anatomical Museum in Edinburgh, where her skeleton was preserved as a fine example of the English bulldog.

Here's a link to Bough's self portrait with this loyal friend.

Gilpin, S. (1905). Sam Bough, R. S. A.: some account of his life and works. London: G. Bell. 163-5.

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