'Lion: A Newfoundland Dog', oil painting, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, England, 1824. Museum no. 852-1894
'Lion: A Newfoundland Dog'
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
Museum no. 852-1894
The Newfoundland is a large Canadian working dog, capable of drawing a sledge, and celebrated for its intelligence, docility and lifesaving abilities. The dog's owner, W. H. de Merle, commissioned this painting in 1824. The painter, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, specialised at an early age in Scottish domestic subjects and animals, especially dogs. This example is one of Landseer's earliest paintings of the Newfoundland breed, a variety of the breed was later named after the painter. Paintings of Newfoundland dogs greatly appealed to nineteenth century taste, with its combination of animal magnificence and canine heroism.
Lady Clementina Hawarden, 'Dog balancing on two chairs', England, about 1861. Museum no. PH.457:330-1968
Lady Clementina Hawarden
Dog balancing on two chairs
Museum no. PH. 457:330-1968
This photograph shows a poodle balanced between two chairs. The photographer was Lady Clementina Hawarden. She took up photography in 1857 and became one of the most experimental and original photographers of the nineteenth century. She often used her children, husband and servants as models. This composition with the poodle illustrates the theatrical nature of many of her photographs.
Peter Henry Emerson, 'The Poacher - A Hare in View', Plate II from the book 'Pictures of East Anglian Life', 1888. Museum no. PH.2114-1896
Peter Henry Emerson
The Poacher - A Hare in View
Plate II from the book 'Pictures of East Anglian Life'
Museum no. PH.2114-1896
The greyhound is the fastest dog in the world. It has long muscular legs, a long body with a thin waist and it has a long, fine head. It was once used to hunt deer and wild boar, but today it is mainly used in racing. Greyhounds retire after only a few years of racing, after this they often become domestic pets. They make good pets as they have a gentle nature and they are loyal and well behaved.
Embroidered panel, worked by Mary Queen of Scots, England, about 1570. Museum no. T.33P-1955
Worked by Mary Queen of Scots
Museum no. T.33P-1955
Mary Queen of Scots embroidered this panel with a number of others during her time of imprisonment in England. Needlework provided her with a practical occupation and it was also an outlet for her to express the frustation of her situation, her choice of subject matter including many mottoes and emblems representing courage in adversity. She also depicted various subjects from natural history and sometimes copied illustrations from the 1560 edition of Conrad Gesner's Icones Animalium.
Figure of a hunting dog, earthenware sculpture, China (Han Dynasty), about 1st century. Museum no. C.167-1914
Figure of a hunting dog
China (Han Dynasty)
About 1st century
Museum no. C.167-1914
This earthenware tomb figure depicts a dog with an upturned tail. It was made during the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25-220) and buried in a grave along with other models of animals, farm buildings and daily vessels according to Han funerary customs. The dog had the task of guarding the tomb and driving away evil influences. The figure has a green lead glaze which has become partly iridescent due to burying.
Netsuke, Japan, about 18th century. Museum no. A.44-1930
About 18th century
Museum no. A.44-1930
The netsuke is a toggle. Japanese men used netsuke to suspend various pouches and containers from their sashes by a silk cord. Netsuke had to be small and not too heavy, yet bulky enough to do the job. They needed to be compact with no sharp protruding edges, yet also strong and hardwearing. Above all they had to have the means of attaching the cord. Although netsuke were made in a variety of forms, the most widely appreciated is the katabori (shape carving). This is a three-dimensional carving, such as this one. Katabori netsuke made in the early 1700s were less concerned with realistic portrayal of their subject. Here, for example, the carver has caught the spirit and character of a dog. However, he has not tried to show surface detail, such as the fur. Another typical feature found on early examples of this type of netsuke is the distinctive himotoshi (cord holes). One hole was considerably larger than the other to accommodate the cord knot, although you cannot see them on this example.
Lion Dog, papercut, China, 1985-1988. Museum no. FE.57-1992
Museum no. FE.57-1992
This Chinese papercut shows a Lion Dog. The papercut is an example of Chinese folk art. They are traditionally placed in the windows of homes during festivals and the subject matter is chosen to celebrate the festival or to protect the home such as warding off evil spirits. The designs are often intricate and the forms are rarely realistic, but instead an artist's interpretation of a particular folk tale or religious story. The Chinese New Year is one of the festivals for which papercuts are created and the animal representing the new year is often included in the designs.
Sir Edwin Landseer, 'The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner', England, 19th century. Museum no. FA 93
Sir Edwin Landseer
The Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner
Museum no. FA 93
Dogs have been used to herd sheep in Britain and other countries for centuries. Many breeds of working dog were originally used but many of these have now become extinct. The Border Collie breed has descended from these working dogs and is renowned for its obedience and hard-working nature. This painting illustrates the Victorian love of dogs for their faithfulness and devotion to their owners and their status as 'man's best friend', as emphasised in the title of the work - the dog is the shepherd's most devoted companion.
Brooch, with image of a Yorkshire Terrier, England, about 1875-1890. Museum no. M.65-1951
Brooch with image of a Yorkshire Terrier
Museum no. M.65-1951
The Yorkshire Terrier breed of dog is affectionately known as the 'Yorkie'. This tiny dog originates from Britain and is believed to have derived from breeding the Scotch Terrier with small local terriers in Yorkshire in the 1850's. The Yorkshire Terrier was recongised by the Kennel Club in 1886 and became known for its ability to hunt down rats.
Bashaw, The Faithful Friend of Man Trampling under Foot his most Insidious Enemy, Matthew Cotes Wyatt, England, 1831-1834. Museum no. A.4:1 to 6-1960
Bashaw, The Faithful Friend of Man Trampling under Foot his most Insidious Enemy
Matthew Cotes Wyatt
Museum no. A.4:1 to 6-1960
This life-size sculpture of a Newfoundland dog was commissioned by John William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, to commemorate his favourite dog. It was to be placed in Lord Dudley's house in Park Lane, London. The dog was sent from Lord Dudley's country seat, Himley Hall, Staffordshire, to London to sit to Wyatt 50 times. Lord Dudley died in 1833, before the sculpture was finished, and a dispute about the price (£5,000) between Wyatt and Lord Dudley's executors was never resolved, the sculpture remaining in Wyatt's possession until his death in 1862.