Monday 23 December 2013

Aren't you just the Cutest Thing..

The title of most adorable photograph in my collection must surely go to this image of a little blonde girl with her dog and two puppies. Perhaps one of the more unusual elements of this photograph is the range of expressions that have been captured in the exposure.

From the cheeky, smile-like expression of the mother dog, with her tongue hanging out & the puzzled look on the little girls face:

To the contented puppy, and the other who cannot stifle a big yawn (having your portrait taking is obviously a tiring business!)

The photograph was taken in San Jose, California by Alonzo Gardner Rifenburg. A record of Alonzo in California's voting register of 1896 (probably a simmlar period in time to when this photograph was taken) provides a fascinating decription of the photographer:

Occupation: Photographer, 
Age: 49, 
Height: 5 ft 7 1/4 inches,  
Colour of Hair: Gray, 
Colour of Eyes: Hazel

San Jose in 1875


Alonzo Gardner Rifenburg in (California State Library, California History Section;) Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 126; FHL Roll Number: 977290.

Monday 25 November 2013

Mrs Thorpe's School Dog

This is a first for the Antique Dog Photograph Gallery - a school group photo. Look carefully to spot the dog in the middle of the front row. Click on the image to enlarge for a better view.

The photograph was taken by L. Wandy of 108 Renfield St, Glasgow, Scotland. Wandy is somewhat of a mystery, as there is no trace of him to be found in trade directories of the time, or in any variation of a search on that I have been able to think of.

However I have found other examples of school photos by Wandy, so they must have been something of a specialty of his.

The style of the mount dates the image to the mid-1880s. The address in Renfield Street was occupied by J. Douglas and Son photographers until 1883, and subsequently David Duiguid & Son photographers from 1885 till 1886. So perhaps Wandy worked for one of these firms as a guest, and this would go some way to explaining the title of "Artist" rather than photographer on the photo mount.

On the reverse of the photo "Mrs Thorpe's School" is written faintly in pencil. I wonder if the woman on the far right of the back row is Mrs Thorpe? This woman, who ever she is is holding something hair under her arm, which must be a dog, who was perhaps unable to keep still when the photograph was taken.


The main attraction of this photo is the little dog in the centre of the front row of children - a Clydesdale or Paisley Terrier.

Victorian author Rawdon Lee wrote of these dogs in 1894:

It has been said that this terrier was originally a cross between the ordinary Skye Terrier and the Yorkshire terrier, but, although it is of quite modern origin, no proof has been produced when such crosses took place or who made them. Much more likely origin is that the variety was made by the Glasgow and other Scottish dog fanciers crossing the softer-coated, lighter-coloured prick-eared Skye terriers with each other until they bred fairly truly and produced the Skye terriers in an altered form.

Victorian drawing of Clydesdale & Paisley Terriers

In the earliest days of dog showing when many individual breeds were much less defined than they are today, Clydesdale or Paisley terriers were shown together in the same classes as Skye Terriers, much to the annoyance of the Skye fanciers. Thomson Gray writes about this in his book Dogs of Scotland:

At the shows which used to be held at Glasgow... these silky-coated terriers were seen in all their beauty, and the fact of their appearing there as Skyes was what first brought them into prominence. The fanciers of the hard-coated Skyes rose in arms against them, holding that they were not Skyes, as they had a silky coat, and were only pretty 'mongrels' bred from Skye terrier 'rejections,' and ought to be known as Glasgow or Paisley Skyes. On the other hand, the breeders of the silky-coated dogs held, as a matter of course, that the texture of coat their dogs possessed was the correct one. This was untenable, as until the introduction of this breed no Scottish dog had a silky or soft coat.

After the decision against the eligibility of the silky-coated dog to compete in the Skye terrier classes, the breed rapidly declined. A few, however, held to the breed out of pure love and admiration for it, but they were few.


  • L. Wandy on Glasgow's Victorian Photographers
  • The Terriers. A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland, Rawdon Briggs Lee, 1894
  • Dogs of Scotland, Thomson Gray, 1891

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Little Lou Lou

What a charming creature greets us in this simple photograph. A white fluffy Maltese sits on a highly polished table for a portrait photograph. Skillfully the photographer has posed the dog on an object much darker than its fur to create superb contrast in the image.

On the reverse of the photograph a message is written to the recipient, as if written by the dog himself:

"My Photograph" for dear kind Aunt Anne with Little Lou Lou's best love..."

The silky-haired small white Maltese lap dog is the most ancient of all the laps dogs of the Western world. First imported into England during the reign of Henry VIII, they were regarded as "meet playfellows for mincing mistresses" during the reign of Elizabeth I. During these times the Maltese was believed to possess healing powers - the sick and ailing would put the little dogs on their stomach or chest for comfort, and they became known as the "Comforter." 

 The Maltese Dog illustrated in The Dogs of the British Islands, 1872

Lou Lou's photograph was taken by Alexander James Grossmann at 56 Snargate Street, Dover.

Born in 1833 in Pressbourg, Hungary - Alexander came to the UK in 1851. The story goes that the ship he was traveling to the England on was wrecked near the Island of Malta. He was cared for by an Anglican clergyman who converted him to Christianity and gave him the name of Alexander James Grossmann.

After settling in Dover Alexander first worked as a watchmaker, and later became a photographer. For how long his business was successful I have been unable to find out. However the London Gazette tells us the Alexander became bankrupt while still at the address featured on the rear of the photo mount.


Monday 4 November 2013

The Coonhound & Raccoon's of llinois

 In this photograph, dating to the early 1860's by the style of the mount, we have a Black and Tan Coonhound with the results of the day's hunt - four Raccoons.

The dog was an easy subject for the photographer, so tired from his work he simply sleeps for the length of the photographic exposure.

The Amercian Coonhound is thought to have descended from the Bloodhound and the now extinct English Talbot hound. Large-headed, broad-nosed and with typically pendulous ears, the massive Talbot Hounds were built for stamina and strength, rather than speed. Their coat was short, coarse and flat, preferred in pure white, but also commonly seen in piebald colourings.

The Old English Talbot Hound, illustrated in Rees's Cyclopædia or, Universal Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences edited by Revd. Abraham Rees. (1743-1825).

Black and Tan was the first Coonhound to be considered a separate breed from the American Foxhound and was admitted to American Kennel Club Breed registry in 1945.

President George Washington is known to have owned four Black & Tan Coonhounds - Drunkard, Taster, Tipler & Tipsy

The Amercian Kennel Club describes the Black and Tan Coonhound as follows:

A determined, painstaking, honest hunter, the Black and Tan is noted for staying on track no matter how faint the scent and producing raccoon under the worst scenting conditions. With his musical voice and persistent attitude, the extremely cold-nosed Black and Tan is incredibly sure, on the trail.

The reverse of the photograph's mount, showing the photogrpaher J. R. Bradshaw's details


Monday 21 October 2013

The King Charles of Bristol

Perched on a little round table covered in a fancy silk cloth we have a King Charles Spaniel. The photograph was taken by E. W. Slater at 29 Park Street, Bristol, England. Slater operated his photographic business from various Bristol locations, but he was only at 29 Park Street from 1866-1867, so we can accurately date this image between those years.

 Postcard view of Bristol's Park Street c1906

The history of the King Charles Spaniel is rich and long. Generally it is thought that they are of Japanese origin, and were brought to England as gifts for Royalty by early voyagers, as early as the reign of Henry VIII.

The little Spaniels were named after King Charles II, for it was during his reign that they reached the zenith of their popularity. It has been written the King Charles was rarely without his Spaniels. There was so many they bred in his bed chamber, and over-ran Hampton Court & York Palace (now Whitehall) - to which Samuel Pepys wrote it his diary, the dogs had free access, even on State occasions.

Lord Macaulay(1800–1859), also wrote about the King & his Spaniels in his History of England:

"he might be seen before the drew was off the grass in St James's Park, striding among the trees playing with his Spaniels and flinging corn to his ducks, and these exhibitions endeared him to the common people"

Engraving of King Charles Spaniels from Anecdotes of Dogs by Edward Jesse, 1858

In the 19th century the King Charles was frequently Black and White, as the dog in my photo, or Black and Tan. It was though crossing the two that we have today's tri-colour variety.

The anonymous Spaniel in the photograph is similar in appearance to many King Charles dogs featured in 19th century paintings. Take for example Spot by William Bowness (shown below)

The Painting is inscribed 'The favourite little dog "Spot"/Bowness 1843' on the reverse. 
Oil on canvas, in a painted oval, 13 x 13 in. (33 x 33 cm.)

The reverse of the photo mount, showing Edward Slater's Park Street address


  • E.W. Slater in the Victorian Photographers Directory
  • Spot by William Bowness in the Christies Lot Finder
  • Anecdotes of Dogs, Edward Jesse, 1858
  • Dogs and All About Them, Robert Leighton, 1910 
  • British Dogs, Drury & Others, 1903

Monday 30 September 2013

Myrtle, Celia & Mops

This has to be one of the most charming photos in my collection. A little girl proudly displays her most precious things - her doll, her bonnet, a favourite book, and last but by no means least - her dog.

On the reverse of the mount, faintly in pencil reads the following:

To Hilda
From Myrtle age 6 yrs
Celia (the doll) will be a year next Christmas.

Mop's age is uncertain.

The photograph was taken in Lawler, a small township of Chickasaw County, Iowa, USA. The population of this tiny town has changed little since the 1880s, when the population was 487, to the latest census data from 2010 which put the population at 439. You can image when Myrtle had her photograph taken she would have had lots of close family and friends in the town who would have enjoyed the photo, including Hilda.

1907 Postcard of Lawler, showing Main Street, looking East - click the image for a larger view.

The photographer was John P. Eskildsen. John was born in Denmark and emmigrated to America in 1887. On the 11th of June 1891 he married Emma Schlatter. Her parents were also of European origin, with her father Henry born in Switzerland and her mother Mary born in Prussia. Emma however had been born in Iowa. John officially became a US citizen on 14th of May 1895.  In 1920 aged 54 he was still working as a photographer, with his two of his children - Herbert & Edna - working at the Studio with him.


Tuesday 24 September 2013

The Greyhound in Durban

A handsome young man poses causally with his Greyhound. The man's right hand rests lightly on the top of the dog's heads so to steady it for the exposure of the photograph.

The dog's eyes look exactly as described in Stonhedge's 1872 book The Dogs of the British Islands  - "full and bright, giving the idea of high spirits and animation."

The photograph was taken by photographers Kermode & Murray in the 1870's at their "Portrait Salon" in Durban's Port Natal. Natal was a colony located in the South East corner of Africa. In the Christmas of 1497 it had been discovered by the Portugese. Natal means Christmas in Portugese.

Natal was known for having the "best soil outside of Cape Colony". This attracted a group of 25 British settlers under British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell in the early 1800's, and they established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal, near today's Farewell Square.

Members of the settlement were able to administer medical aid to the powerful and influential Zulu chief Shaka after he'd been injured in a battle, they were justly rewarded. As a token of gratitude, he granted the tiny settlement a "25-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth."

 1824 European artist's impression of Shaka with a long throwing assegai and heavy shield. 
No drawings from life are known

This map from 1885 shows Port Natal and Durban (or D'Urban as it was known then) which I have highlighted with a red circle (click on the image for a larger view):

The next map is from 1898 and shows just Port Natal. I have added a red dot to show the exact location of the Kermode & Murray Studio (click on the image for a larger view):

 The reverse of the mount featuring the motto of the British Monarch Dieu et Mon Droit
"God and my right shall me defend."


Saturday 17 August 2013

Black and Tan Terrier in Camberwell

This is a portrait of a Black and Tan (or English Toy Terrier). Before the formation of the Kennel Club in England, Black and Tan's were used in rat pit. In this sport, men would bet on the number of rats, and the speed at which the dog would be able to kill them. One of the smallest and most famous ratters was 5lb "Tiny" who is said to have killed 100 rats in just over 5 minutes.

A rat pit in the 1860's

Looking at the dog in this photograph, with its fancy beaded, necklace-like collar, I think it very unlikely that he or she was used in the pit! In 1882 John Herny Walsh writes of the Black and Tan in his book Dogs of the British Islands:

The black-and-tan English terrier is a very elegant dog, approaching in his symmetry to the greyhound. Skull flat and narrow; eye small and dark; nose black. The ears, if cropped, should be erect, long, and tapering to a fine point. 

The photographer Henry Death, has taken great care with his subject to create contrast between the dark, shiny coat of the dog and the paler, plain backdrop. This effect creates a simple but startling portrait.

The reverse of the mount - the first I have seen noting the business hours

Henry Death was born on 31st of July 1820 son of Alice and William Death in Molton, Cambridgeshire. He married Frances Ann, and together they had four sons and three daughters. Death started his photographic career in 1856, opening a studio in the family home at 5 Addington Place, Camberwell Road, London.

The family resided there until July 16th 1863 when they moved to 119 Camberwell Road where the Black and Tan terrier had his portrait painted. The house & studio was put up for sale in September 1887, because of Death's ill health. Death died in 1900 after a short retirement from photography. We can therefore date the photograph in question to between 1863 and 1887, judging by the simple style of the mount I would date it to the earlier part of this period.

Below is a photograph of 119 Camberwell Road as it is today, the interior retains some of the period features, such as the decorative wooden flooring, which would have been there when it was the home of the Death family.

You may also be interested in reading articles from this website relating to Manchester Terriers -
click here to view.


Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Brighton Spaniel

Posed against a stark, plain backdrop the white body and dark head of this Springer Spaniel really stands out, highlighting the dog's character.

Many types of spaniel were developed in the 19th century, and the English Springer breed was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1902 (and the American Kennel Club in 1910). Drury writes about this in his 1903 book on British dogs, saying "The good old English name has been given recently revived by the Kennel Club to designate the old-fashion, medium leg Spaniels of all colours that are neither Clumber nor Sussex Spaniels."

The Springer was described in Harewood's Dictionary of Sport in 1835 thus:

The true English Springer differs little in figure from the Setter, except in size, being nearly two-fifths less in height and strength than the Setter; delicately formed, ears long, soft and pliable, coat waving and silky, tail somewhat bushy and pendulous, and always in motion when actively employed.

The photograph was taken by Ebenezer Pannell. In 1881 there were over 30 photographic studios in Brighton and census information tells us that Ebenezer was working in one of them, by 1883 he was running his own studio. He had a number of different studios throughout the mid-1880s eventually opening up for business at 49 St. George's Road where the Spaniel photograph was taken.

Below is a group portrait of the Pannell Family taken c1890. Ebenezer Pannell, his wife Mary Ann Baker (born c1853), their two children - Ella Mary Pannell (born 1888), and Ebenezer William Pannell (born 1886). Ebenezer's Mother-in-Law, Mrs Mary Baker (born c1820, Hereford) is seated on the right.

Photo from the collection of Peter Cannings Bushell & Erryn Pannell

The Pannell family was a true family of photographers, as three of Ebenzer's four children would go on own and run their own studio's or work as photographic assistants for their father.

  • Sussex Photo History - Ebenezer Pannel, Brighton & Hove Photographer 
  • British Dogs, The Various Breeds, 3rd Edition, 1903 by Drury & Others

Sunday 21 July 2013

Moffat Companions

Recently I visited Scotland for the first time, one of the prettiest places I visited was the historic coaching town of Moffat. I haven't got a huge amount of Scottish dog photographs in my collection, but on my return from my trip sorting through my collection I found this photograph, taken where else but Moffat.

Here we have a man photographed by J. Weir with his Retriever companion. I can but speculate that the sitter enjoyed walking or rambling, wearing his tweed coat and deer stalker hat, carrying a stick. He also wears shoes deeply ridged tread, which I've never come across before.

His Retriever is old in years, greying around his face. Dog breeds in the 19th century were not nearly as refined as they are today. Hugh Dalziel and Pathfinder wrote in 1889:

I should be inclined to say that any specimen of the canine race which at first sight was not decidedly a pointer, setter, bloodhound, mastiff, sheep dog or terrier, so long as it had a suspicion of curl in its coat, a tendency to fetch and carry, and no decided aversion to water on a summer day, must be a retriever proper.

The reverse of the photograph

  • Breaking and Training Dogs, 1889 by Pathfinder & Hugh Dalziel

Saturday 15 June 2013

Little Frank & the Train Wreck

This photograph depicts Frank Snedaker, who on August 10th 1887 suffered a great tragedy. At nearly midnight on that fateful night Frank was travelling home on a train from Niagra Falls excursion with his parents, Reverend George B. Snedaker and Elizabeth M. Snedaker, when a fire on a small bridge on the line cause the whole train to crash.

Haper's Weekly wrote of the incident:

The train passed through Peoria at 11:45 p.m. Three miles further along on the road there was a shallow "run," not more than fifteen feet wide and ten feet deep, which the recent drought in that region had made dry. This was crossed by a wooden trestle bridge supported by timbers. As the train approached this it was running at the rate of thirty-five miles an hour with a clear track. Just before reaching it the engineer of the forward engine noticed flames licking up through the wooden structure, but too late to stop the train. His engine crossed the gulch, but the burning bridge gave way, the tender broke from the engine and fell in, the second engine ploughed furiously into the farther bank, and cars came crashing with terrific force upon one another, telescoped throughout their length, and piled in splinters over the broken and burning trestle. The sleeping-cars stopped short of the horrible gap, but were badly shaken up. The scene that followed it is impossible to describe. The hapless passengers of the forward cars were, almost inextricably mingled in the shattered mass.

Illustration from Harper's Weekley depicting the aftermath of the crash

Both of Frank's parents were killed, and Frank was seriously injured, losing the lower half of one leg. The Chatsworth Plaindealer newspaper wrote on August 12th 1887:

Little Frank Snedaker, of Abingdon,Ill., is domiciled.  No braver person was in the ill-fated train than this little fellow.  His leg was amputated, his arm is broken, and his eye injured.  His mother was killed and his father has gone home with the remains, and will return.  Mrs Kipp, of Wing, Ill., a cousin of Rev. Snedaker, is with the little hero.  He was very restless at the hour of our reporter's call, but all hope for the recovery of this brave little fellow, who said when asked at the time of his rescue, "I'm not hurt much, help those who are crying first."

We can only hope that Frank's little dog was a source of comfort to him at such a difficult time. Frank had older sister called Myrtle, who married Joseph M. Shipplet. Interestingly on the back of this photograph is written Myrtle Shipplet - was this photograph now in my collection, once the possession of Frank's sister? We can but wonder.

The reverse of the photograph mount