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Cats and Dogs

Cats and Dogs


Crystal Palace Cat Show

Penny Illustrated-Paper and Illustrated Times, Vol. 53, No.1378, selection from p. 284, Oct. 29 1887, published by Thomas Fox: London, UK

As odd as a cat show may be in the present day, it was an even rarer sight back in the nineteenth century. Dog shows, certainly, gained much following and prominence, but breeding for felines did not come into great vogue. Experience probably also led trainers to prefer canine companions over attempts to 'herd cats.' Women became the majority group of cat lovers, although males were not without fondness for the creatures. The cat show mentioned here lists five female owners and three male, although all three judges and the general manager of the show are all men. The reporter also notes the low sum for the prizes, which likely reflects the lower popularity of feline exhibits. 



The Cavalier's Pets

Landseer's Dogs and Their Stories, selection from Chromograph 5, 1877, Tytler, Sarah, illustration after painting by Sir Edwin Landseer, published by Marcus Ward & Co.: London, UK

Tytler makes two noteworthy observations regarding the canine portraits by the famous animal painter, Edwin Henry Landseer. First, she mentions the human milieu in which the dog is portrayed, prompting the audience to wonder after the absent master or mistress from the illustration. Second, Tytler claims that "lower animals [are] a reflection of [man's] own hopes, aims, and destiny."[1] Essentially, the human capacity to care for animals derives from our ability to relate to these creatures. In the painting titled The Cavalier's Pets, 'Cavalier' refers to both the breed of spaniels depicted and the absent master represented by the characteristic hat with ostrich feather and spur. Other than the obvious nomenclature parallel, the dogs are associated with their owner by the blue ribbon bows tied around their necks. This pretty accessory so lovingly bestowed displays both the affection the cavalier has for his pets, as well as the reflection of his own extravagant grooming.



The Whole Family and the Dog

Photo Album of Laird C. Robinson of Philadelphia, 1904, selection from p. 12, 1904, Robinson, Laird Clifford, Philadelphia, USA

In this charming picture, a dog joins its people in the family photograph. One lady holds the pet close to her body in a sign of affection and familiarity. Many photographic poses of this style go so far as to press the human and animal heads together. The canine is certainly a fond friend of this household, but separate from the family, as defined in this time as immediate blood relatives living together. The caption written under the image underlines the distinction of the pet from the family.



[1] Landseer’s Dogs and Their Stories, p. 8, 1877, Tytler, Sarah, published by Marcus Ward & Co.: London, UK