Contemporary Prints

This 20th Century print by the late artist and Saluki fancier, Nancy Maclean was a prize at a dog show but as a limited edition, signed and numbered piece it will only increase in value over time.
The dog was a Pine Paddocks dog of Esther Bliss Knapps' a pioneer of the Saluki in America . I love this print.

Frances Fairman Litho

This is a close up of a tiny, 4 inch by 2 inch Frances Fairman (1836-1923) lithograph printed on leather. It is from the 1920's. Frances Fairmans' breed of choice was the Japanese Chin,( known back then as the Japanese Spaniel) but this English artist was known the world over for exquisite dog portraits. She was particularly fond of doing head studies. One of her patrons was Queen Alexandra and a journalist from the Ladies Kennel Association made this lovely quote about her...
"What Miss Fairman feels about flowers and fruits she feels about dogs, she loves to have them around her. The walls of her studio are lined with studies of tropical vegetation, portraits of dogs, studies of her own dogs, studies of heads of famous dogs, and her own pet spaniels lie in their cages in the middle of the studio and repose in her visitor's laps."
This piece is embossed and painted with gold highlights. I especially am attracted to the detail of these beautiful German Shepherds. Note the fine chiseling on the heads. This charming litho certainly captures the elegance of this breed...


Staffordshire Pottery Dogs

I love Staffordshire Spaniels, those pottery pieces, some of which go back 400 years are charming in a folk artsy sort of way...and collecting them can be addicting!
I have only a few pieces, I love the Poodles, ( see the amazing inkwell above)Greyhounds, Pugs, Cats and Horses as well. I am still looking for a Pug to add to my collection.
This picture of white Spaniels was snapped at the local antique show and that dealer obviously loves them too.
There are a number of books on the subject if you are interested in collecting them, my favorite is the Victorian Staffordshire Dogs book pictured available at Amazon for just under 40 dollars. Staffordshire pottery pieces have always gone up in value which makes them a good investment...but make sure you educate yourself on identifying the genuine antique and not a reproduction, and while the repros are great to decorate with ,they are of no significant value.


Queen Victoria's Spaniels

This fan came from a fan collector named Julia Lucey. She was a teacher in New York and purchased it from an antique auction house on 54th street. The antique and auction house had the belongings of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward of England and daughter in-law of Queen Victoria. This delicate handpainted fan portrays two spaniels of Queen Victoria's. They were also painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in one of his famous paintings albeit they were painted from a different angle....because Queen Victoria was an avid and accomplished artist, and because her dogs were a favorite subject, I suspect she was the artist. That would also explain why this fan was prized by her daughter in-law.

The Royal Family then, as now, were big dog fanciers as evidenced by this photo of one of Queen Alexandra's beloved dogs on the furniture...(you know that chair has got to be priceless)

The Queen traveled everywhere with her dogs and when her brother died, she took the flowers and funeral wreaths sent by heads of state, and layed them on the grave of her favorite dog, Blaze,pictured here, who died the same day as her brother....

One note of interest about this fan. Julia Lucey also had acquired a fan belonging to Alexandra bearing the portrait of Commodore Perry, the man who opened trade with Japan and first brought these spaniels into the Western world as gifts to Queen Victoria. They were the ancestors of Blaze.

I wanted badly to purchase that fan as well, but honestly, I am poor and so it went to a collector in Australia.

The spaniel fan always reminds me that what I have in common with royalty is a great love of dogs....


Victorian Jabot Pin

In Victorian times, it was typical of the wealthy to have miniature portraits done of their cherished pets on an Essex crystal. These amazing tiny, tiny oil paintings were painted on crystal in reverse! They are commonly known as intaglio paintings.
This jabot pin in particular is from London, about 1830. It is 9ct rose gold and features a now extinct breed of dog, the Black and Tan Terrier.This breed was written about by the great Victorian dog specialist, Vero Shaw.
I got a lot of flak from some collectors for letting it go to the first customer instead of bartering with them...sometimes you have to be careful when you sell as collectors get pretty upset when they want something bad! It is part of the fun of dealing in antiques.


More on Engravings..

I first became enamored of animal engravings because it was a way to chart how our animals have changed over the centuries. Dog breeders and enthusiasts can especially benefit from studying antique art.

An engraving like this one of sporting spaniels could for example, shed light on the origin of certain breed characteristics...
You may not know this,but...antique engravings are valuable and a good investment!

Some people mistakenly consider them as prints but they are not! Engravings are ARTIST ORIGINALS.

Granted, they are what the art world calls multiple originals but ORIGINALS nonetheless and should be treated as such.

Always use an acid free mat when framing these engravings as the old paper stock will disintergrate if you don't.


Turn of the Century Arab Engraving

This is another favorite engraving titled 'The Lion Hunt' it is turn of the century and the handcoloring is most unusual as the paint is applied thickly and layered making for a most interesting effect.
I was initially attracted to it because it is an educational look into the breed type of the Arabian Horse at the turn of century...that is why I began an interest in animal antiques, because I am facinated at the way animals looked in the past and how and why they have changed.
I sold this engraving at the first of the year to a collector for five times what I paid for it...proof that antiques are a good investment. But don't buy a piece because you want to it because you like it. I loved this one and must admit I had reservations about letting it go.


Paul Tavernier French Engraving

Words cannot describe the minute detail of this French engraving by Paul Tavernier. The handcoloring is amazing, the colors so true it feels like if you touch the water you will get wet! This is the finest engraving I have ever seen. It is of George Washingtons' Foxhounds that were given to him by the French Government as a congrats gift for becoming the nations first President. These dogs are the ancestors of the American Foxhound which makes it an important work for the historic researcher and fancier of Foxhounds.

Lifesize Bronze Victorian Terrier

This amazing lifesize bronze has incredible detail. It is a Maltese or Cairn type terrier. It does have some verdigris as it was an outdoor garden bronze in a historic southern home. Even the toenails have extensive detail. I believe the eyes at one point were glass as was common in the 19th century.