The Guardian by William Henry Hamilton Trood, 1886
National Dog Day
They say every dog has its day, and that day is today! The 26th of August is National Dog Day. No better time to unleash (geddit) my ‘Man’s Best Friend’ collection on Zazzle.
First, a little history.
I am a cat person, but my family have always owned dogs (as opposed to my cats owning me), and just as fifty percent of my photo files are made up of cats being cute or clever, their sideboards and mantles display photos of dogs past and present. But before we were able to photograph or video our beloved pets for prosperity (or Youtube), proud dog owners would call upon the services of an artist.
These dog portraits were originally commissioned by the aristocracy and mostly depicted hunting scenes or the lady of the house with her lap dog, painted by the likes of George Stubbs and Sir Edwin Landseer. In Victorian times, the new ‘middle class’ – a result of the industrial age – could now afford to own and breed their own dogs. The founding of the Kennel Club and their first regulated dog show at Crystal Palace in 1873, (the American Kennel Club following in 1884) sparked an interest in a wider variety of dog breeds and huge enthusiasm to show them off.
Victorian artists took advantage of an increased demand for doggie portraits, a trend encouraged by Queen Victoria herself.
Sharp – one of Queen Victoria’s favourite Collies – by Charles Burton Barber
I’ve put together a collection of some of the best work produced during this prolific era. The paintings below are a selection from British artists.
A Naughty Black Pug by John Emms
Ch. Lola ‘Bodo’ – German Shepherd – by Reuben Ward Binks
Cocker Spaniel in a Highland Landscape by Lilian Cheviot
My Lady’s Pets by Arthur Wardle, 1904
At Their Master’s Call by Thomas Blinks
Two Greyhounds and a Mastif Belonging to the Duke of Hamilton by Sawrey Gilpin, 1780
Jack Tar and Another Bulldog by Wright Barker, 1895
Sweet Slumber (detail) by William Henry Hamilton Trood, 1884
English Setters by Thomas Blinks
Please click on the pic below to see my cards, postcards and posters featuring beautiful illustrations and paintings of dogs by some of the best animal artists of the 19th and 20th Century. I’ll be adding more all the time so please keep checking in. Happy Dog Day!