Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Butterfly Dog From Switzerland


The little dog is this charming photograph is a Papillon type of toy spaniel (Papillon is derived from the French word for butterfly. A Papillon with dropped ears like this little chap is correctly known as a Phalène (which is French for moth). Phalène's are the earliest form of the breed, and you can see them featured in many European Old Master paintings (click here for some examples or here for some more examples). It was not until the 16th century that the Papillon with erect ears was documented.

This photograph was taken by Henri-Antoine Boissonnas, a Swiss photographer who lived between 1833 and 1889. Boissonnas' father Pierre Amie was an engraver, gilder, enameller, and when he retired in 1864 the family workshop was transformed into a photographic studio.

The studio that Boissonnas set up was in turn taken over by his son Frédéric and subsquently his grandsons Edouard and Henri-Paul. These three generations of talented photographers bought the family fame and fortune and the Studio lasted until 1969.

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