Shaggy Dog Stories
Dogs in art and literature
Domesticated dogs have been living with us for at least 12,000 years, both as working dogs and as companions. During this time more than a hundred different breeds, from chihuahua to chow-chow, have been developed from the first tamed wolves.
This month's collections feature writers, artists, and critics whose works were inspired by dogs. These range from poetry to science fiction, and from paintings to bindings.
- Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832): Scott's own dogs were the inspiration for dogs in his novels, and they often appeared in portraits with him.
- Sir William Cope (1812-92): author and editor; his mother's spaniel made a special bibliographic appearance.
- John Ruskin (1819-1900): the influential art critic wrote a poem about his spaniel Dash.
- James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903): artist, designer and writer; Whistler doted on his French poodle, and dogs appear in many of Whistler's works.
- Edith Somerville (1858-1949): artist and writer; wrote a collection of canine anecdotes Maria and some other dogs, 1949.
- Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936): novelist and poet; author of many stories about dogs, including Thy servant a dog, 1930, told from the dog's point of view.
- Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): author of Flush, 1933, a biography of the spaniel owned by the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).
- W.H. Auden (1907-1973): poet, playwright and critic, co-author with Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) of The dog beneath the skin, 1935; Auden owned a dog called Mosé.
- Pictures featuring dogs appear in the Whistler Collections at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.
- The National Portrait Gallery, London, includes images of Sir Walter Scott (by Sir William Allan, 1831), John Ruskin (by James Northcote, 1822), and Virginia Woolf (by Gisèle Freund, 1939) - with their dogs.
- Aberdeen Bestiary: The nature of dogs: illuminated manuscript from around 1200 (Aberdeen University Library)
- Kennel Club Library: the Kennel Club promotes the "general improvement of dogs". The London headquarters has a reference library, special collections, and an art collection.
- Scottish Kennel Club: archive includes minutes, accounts, and papers from 1881.
- Dog Collar Museum (Leeds Castle, Kent)
- Dogs: online exhibition (National Museums Liverpool)
- The Bonzo Dog Band included Roger Ruskin-Spear, a descendent of John Ruskin.
- Dogs Trust: national dog welfare charity, founded in 1891 as the National Canine Defence League (NCDL).
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