Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dickens, dogs, and moi (of course!)

In advance of the Westminster Dog Show beginning on Feb. 15,  which I am unable to attend, Bonhams New York auction house is celebrating the art of the dog. Specifically, we should say, celebrating the art of the foxhound, because its featured painting depicts, naturally, a whole pack of my kin and is expected to bring as much as 700K. A previously auctioned foxhound painting, also by British artist John Emms, set a world record price of $842,500.

Browsing the online catalogue, Mom liked: the Edwardian silver inkwell with its dog figure, inscribed "Joe"(she likes the juxtaposition of the elegant with the ordinary); more Emms foxhound paintings, these much more affordable, but still out of reach. Oddly enough, not a Dalmatian portrayed in any of the lots.

Intriguingly, a 23-inch-long leather and brass collar belonging to the dog of Charles Dickens, inscribed with the author’s name (Mom’s favorite) and address at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham, is up for auction.

    “The large dogs at Gad’s Hill were quite a feature of the place, and were also rather a subject of dread to many outsiders…And the dogs, though as gentle as possible to their own people, knew that they were the guardians of the place, and were terribly fierce to all intruders. Linda, a St. Bernard, and a beautiful specimen of that breed, … and Turk—a mastiff—were the constant companions in all their master’s walks.” We won’t mention the Pomeranian, Mrs. Bouncer, of whom Dickens was unaccountably fond. (“Charles Dickens at Home,” The New York Times, April 6, 1884)

This is the 28th year of the Bonhams event, simply called The Dog Sale, and it starts Feb. 16. It also includes a fundraiser for the AKC’s humane fund.

After viewing the Emms works and the Norfolk hunt video, Mom wondered if I would prefer living en masse with a pack. Then she noticed me cuddled in my new faux shearling blanket. Barn life? No thanks.

Speaking of Westminster, very few hounds have historically been honored as Best in Show, only an afghan and a whippet, besides the recent beagle Uno. Of course, were I eligible…