About Me

My photo
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 !

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

rose is remembered (by byron's guardian)

From a collection of dog poetry dated 1912:  Here's Frederick Howard, the 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748-1825), with an epitaph for Rose, the family dog.
* * *
WHOE’ER thou art whom chance shall hither lead,
O’er the green turf with friendly caution tread;
For in the bosom of this beechen shade
A lovely Favourite's bones in peace are laid.
She asks no pity, your compassion spare,
Soon your own woes may want the gushing tear.
Happy her life. She ne’er affliction knew,
Lov’d by her Mistress, to that Mistress true.

And, if Pythagoras hath truly taught,
That future joy by former merit’s bought,
She may perhaps, changed to the snowy dove,
Sleep in the bosom of the Queen of Love;
Or haply may her beauteous form retain
To scour with Dian's Nymphs the verdant plain.
But to her soul should perfect bliss be given
For virtues past, she asks no other Heaven,
Than here again midst flowery fields to rave,
And here again to share her Mistress’ love.

* * *
Bonus tidbit from the introduction to this poem:

The 5th Earl of Carlisle was Byron's guardian and uncle; to him the "Hours of Idleness" was dedicated “by his obliged ward and affectionate kinsman" and to him Byron afterwards referred:—
"What heterogeneous honours deck the peer!
Lord, rhymster [sic], petit maitre, and pamphleteer!"
-- Found in Parson, J. The Friendly Dog: an Anthology, London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1912. 17-18.

Monday, April 23, 2018

bronze in motion, denmark 1883

collection.smk.dk  The Royal Collection of Paintings and Sculptures CC0 1.0
Danish sculptor Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen (1863-1945) was twenty when she modeled this bronze Cat with a Rat (1883).  She'd been sculpting animals since the age of 12, when she started with a pet lamb; in her youth a veterinarian friend gave her animal carcasses so she could study musculature.  This is a rough sketch of a cat, getting the feel of its volume and movement, not forgetting the tipped-back ears of a feline still in the exciting throes of the hunt.
Nielsen became one of Denmark's most prominent sculptors, studied in Paris, and was the first Danish woman to be awarded the commission for an equestrian monument (a memorial statue for King Christian IX of Denmark).  The National Museum of Women in the Arts has an excellent pair of blog posts on her life - here's Part I and Part II.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

wordless vintage wednesday

from the museum collection

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

a cat woodcut a day keeps the blues away

images copyright and by kindest permission of the artist
Boston, MA artist Hillary Sprague loves woodcuts.  She comes by this love naturally; as the daughter of a master furniture maker, she grew up watching the beauty of natural materials being shaped in tandem with good craft.  "I find beauty in how their unique properties can influence the direction of your craft- as if you are collaborating together," she writes.  
For 2018 she's decided on an intense and fun engagement with her chosen medium.  She's doing a cat-themed woodcut per day till 2019, and that's freehand. No prep drawing, no tracing, just cutting.  Above is "First Light," and below is "Window Seat."  I'm going to reiterate that - one cat woodcut every day.  Longtime readers know how fond I am of woodcuts, so you know I was thrilled.
Want to keep up with the challenge and see her other work? 
Here's H M S Printmaking on Etsy.
Here's her website.

Monday, April 16, 2018

happiest bowl ever

Queens College, Daghlian Collection of Chinese Art, photo by Brita Helgesen 01/24/14. (PD)
You know those mugs that are made with a creature waiting at the bottom?  You're drinking your coffee, tea, whatever, and then there's a frog peeking out at you two-thirds of the way down?  I wondered if this bowl from Six Dynasties China (220-568 CE) was the same kind of thing.  However, this bowl is only 2.25 inches high (and 4.375 inches wide), and he sticks up quite a bit.  Perhaps it was fun to eat around him.  I would throw pretzels in with him any day.
Six Dynasties China is particularly interesting; while it was a long period of political upheaval, it was also a time of cultures intermingling.  Longtime Museum readers know how much I love those for their fresh, fascinating results, and here's proof right here.  Traditional Chinese art standards were mixed with influences from Buddhism as it infiltrated popular thought, as well as from Central Asian ruling classes.  I love that this long-ago potter felt free as a result to make a perfect little dog and - bonus style points - extend his spots to the bowl around him.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"scabby cats live a long time" - the cat in italian proverbs

I've found a huge collection in Italian with pages (!!) full of cat proverbs.  Everything you see below I translated with GoogleTranslate....so certainly feel free to correct me.
I buoni gatti prendono topi  in casa e fuori - Good cats take mice indoors and out.
I gatti scabbiosi vivono a lungo - Scabby cats live a long time.
Gatto nero non divien bianco per sapone - Black cat does not become white for (with) soap.
La merda di gatto non e salsiccia arrosto - Cat s**t is not roasted sausage.  (Dying to know what brought that one about - curator)
Anche i bei gattini hanno unghie aguzze - Even the beautiful kittens have sharp nails.  (Yes. Yes they do - curator)
Preghiera di gatti non sale in cielo - Cats' prayers don't rise to the heavens.
La gatta dice mezzo il suo cuore - The cat tells her heart half (tells half her heart?).
Gli amore del gatto finiscono con graffi - Cat's love ends with scratches.
Il gatto, quantunque chiuda gli occhi, non e cieco - The cat, though it closes its eyes, is not blind.
Gatto bianco con coda nera, parla assai del l'ermellino - A white cat with a black tail speaks highly of ermine.
I gatti e le pulzellone, hanno la vita tenace - Cats and wizards are tenacious of life.  (Wizards? - curator)

Strafforello, Gustavo, 1820-1903. La Sapienza Del Mondo: Ovvero, Dizionario Universale Dei Proverbi Di Tutti I Popoli, Raccolti, Tradotti, Comparati, E Commentati Da Gustavo Strafforello, Con L'aggiunta Di Aneddoti, Racconti, Fatterelli, E Di Illustrazioni Storiche, Morali, Scientifiche, Filologiche, Ecc. Torino: A. F. Negro, 1883. vol. 2. pp. 168-78.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

vintage photo time

from the museum collection

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

cat helps keep you clean

Child's Bib, 19th century; cotton; H x W: 59.9 x 45.3 cm (23 9/16 x 17 13/16 in.); 1949-39-1
This lyrical design, in which the cat is practically one of the surrounding flowers, is resist printed on the fabric of this 19th-century child's bib.