Wednesday, 31 October 2012
It is not often that you come across Cabinet Card photographs that feature people dressed in their "work" clothing as these three gents are. The images was taken by Prezeau & Tougas in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Prezeau & Tougas are also different to the average photographers of the time because they are "Home Photographers" -visiting their clients in their homes (or in this case workplace) to photograph their portraits. The little Bullterrier must have be well liked to get center spot in the photograph.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
On the reverse of this photograph the name Prince is inscribed. The photo came from a large album purchased in Whitby (the setting for Dracula). Although most of the photos in the album were from Whitby and the surrounding seaside towns (click here to take a look at another interesting photo from this album) - this photo was taken in Llandudno, Wales. The photographer was Alfred Ford Smith who had a Studio at 27 Mostyn Street, he exhibited examples of his work with the Royal Photographic Society ever year from 1870-1877.
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
The owner of this Italian Greyhound holds gently onto one of the dogs ears, presumably to steady it for the exposure time of the photograph.
The Italian greyhound is an ancient breed, believed to be at least 2000 years old. There are many authorities on the breed's history believe the breed was dwarfed for pet purposes from a Gazehound (hounds who hunted by "sight") of the distant past.
The Italian Greyhound was very popular with royalty, some notable Italian Greyhound owners were Mary Queen of Scots, Charles I, Queen Anne and Queen Victoria. The exact date that the breed was introduced in England is not known, but by the Late-Victorian period the popularity of the breed reached a peak.
In 1872 Reverend Pearce wrote in his book "The Dog", "This toy dog, the most elegant, but alas! The most delicate of the small breeds, has existed from time immemorial and has always been in fashion. There is no doubt that it is simply a small specimen of the larger dog, refined and dwarfed by inbreeding and selection, and first introduced from Italy and the South of France, where they are more abundant, but not light, graceful or refined as those which are occasionally exhibited in England."
If you'd like to find out more about this breed I recommend Karen Thayne's excellent website: Italian-greyhound.net
Sunday, 14 October 2012
There are such a lot of details to see in this photograph from the dainty ring the little girl wears, to her pearl necklace, to the bells on her Pug's collar. All the little girl's fancy jewellery and immaculate dress leads me to believe that she came from a relatively wealthy family.
The photograph was taken by Abbott & Law in Little Falls, Herkimer County, New York, USA.
Friday, 12 October 2012
This photograph features an early version of a Pitbull type dog. As you can see the dog has extremely well-defined muscular body. We can but only speculate on this dog's personality, and its highly likely he wasn't as fearsome as he appears.
The image was taken by Robert Suss in the hill-top town of Bautzen, Saxony, Germany (c1890s)
Thursday, 11 October 2012
What a pair these two make! The dog's shaggy fur is just like his owners sideburns/beard.
The photograph was taken by Samuel Frost who was a watchmaker and photographer in Kirkgate, Newark. Frost is mentioned in The Times newspaper on the 22nd of June 1860 as one of his photographs was used for evidence in an inquest into a Mill explosion in Winthorpe. This is notable because it was perhaps one of the earliest uses of a photograph as evidence in an investigation such as this.
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.
This photograph has always reminded me of the famous portrait of Charles Dickens and his dog Turk, because of the similar the way the Photographer John M'Leod has composed his subjects. I think the plain backdrop to the image highlights the tenderness of the relationship between the young man and his dog. I think the book on the table is a leather-bound photograph album, but it could also be a Bible.
M'leod had a studio in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire roughly between 1869 and 1886, I believe this photograph dates from the early to mid 1870's.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
In this photograph a pretty young girl sits on a chair with her beloved pug sitting casually beside her. It was taken in Teignmouth by Samuel Poole who was the photographer to the Prince and Princess of Wales of the era (Albert Edward -later King Edward VII & Alexandra of Denmark -later Queen Alexandra).
Poole was born in 1823 in Taunton, Somerset where he worked as a house builder in his early 20's, before moving to Teignmouth, Devon in 1859 with his wife Mary Ann and their six children, so he could set up his photographic studio (by 1868 Poole and his wife had another three children!) Four of his children would go on to work in the Studio alongside their father who continued working until 3 years before his death in 1906. Lots more information on Poole and his family history can be found here.
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
This photograph came with a box of my great grandfathers items including letters, diaries and other photographs. The thing is that there is no one left alive who can identify the woman in the image (or the dog!) She doesn't closely resemble any members of my family so I'm going to presume she was a friend of the family. Her little dog is a prick-eared Skye Terrier.
The origin of the Skye Terrier is shrouded in as much mystery as the identity of the woman in this photograph. Its origins are said to be from the Maltese dogs that came during the 17th century, on a shipwrecked Spanish Armada and bred with the local "Celtic terriers" on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Hebrides. This makes the Skye Terrier the oldest of the Scottish Terrier breeds and the ancestor of the five breeds of the Scottish Isles which still exist today: The Skye Terrier, The Scottish Terrier, The Cairn Terrier, The West White Highland Terrier and the Dandie Dinmond Terrier. Sadly the Skye Terrier is now on the UK Kennel Club's list of most endangered breeds, with only 44 puppies registered in 2011.
I found this little gem at an antique fair in Suffolk in a box of very ordinary old photographs. The smiling lady appears to be toothless! The photo was taken by Powls and May and as you can see from the mount, they had two Studios. One was 301 Summer Lane Birmingham (which they had between 1888 and 1906/8) and the other was 141 High Street Bordesley.
A little bit about this website
All the antique dog photographs on this website are from my personal collection unless otherwise noted.
I have been collecting photographs of dogs for the last 5 years, inspired my parents who have been collecting all manor of dog related antiques since the 1970's.
There is something very evocative about the photographs, I think the author Libby Hall put is best when she said these photographs are a testimony to the extraordinary relationship that can exist between dogs and people... funny or sad, for me these frozen moments capture, not only the passion we can have for dogs, but also the fleeting transience of life: dogs' lives are poignantly short - so too are people's.
If you want to find out a bit more about me I can direct you to my website - I trained as an illustrator and I'm working as a Brand Manager for a UK cycle clothing company.
Lots of lovely things (including more antique photographs) on my Flickr photostream.