DOG PAINTING, A HISTORY OF THE DOG IN ART, BY WILLIAM SECORD.
Book Review, by E. M. Gilbert Jr.
As Mary Murphy screams over a great performance on “So You Think You Can Dance”, I scream “Wow, this book is a Classic which combines art and history of the dog with a deep heart felt feeling for the subject.” Its subtitle modestly states: ‘A History of the Dog in Art.” Dog Painting (Second edition 2009) is a must have book for anyone who is owned by a dog or has been owned by a dog or is interested in painting or the history of painting or the development of dog breeds.
In 1877 Gordon Stables stated: “Nobody who is anybody can afford to be followed by a mongrel dog.” This writer states: “Nobody who owns, wants to own or has owned a pure-bred dog can afford not to own Dog Painting, A history of the Dog is Art, by William Secord.
William Secord is the world authority on dog painting and is a leading authority on the various dog breeds and their development. The book Dog Painting was first published in 1992 and immediately became a classic. It went through five reprintings and is now out of print. The present book is a revised and greatly expanded Second edition 2009, 456 pages, illustrated with 525 full color dog paintings. These paintings illustrate how the breeds have changed in appearance over the years. For instance, did you know there once was a rough-coated Beagle (page 124)?
Bill was the first Director of the AKC Museum of the Dog (1981-1986) and since 1990 has been President of the William Secord Gallery Inc., 52 East 76th Street, New York, NY, 10021. His education and professional standing as the world authority on 19th century dog painting makes him ideally suited to write this book. The book explores the representation of the dog from its origins to the remarkable paintings of the eighteenth /nineteenth century and up to modern times.
Bill has access to the Royal Collections of Belgium, England, France, American Kennel Club (AKC), AKC Museum of the Dog, The Kennel Club (England), art museums throughout the world and many of the privately owned paintings in the USA, Canada and Europe.
All his previous book are also classics:” Dog Painting, 1840-1940, a Social History of the Dog in Art"(1992); "Dog Painting, The European Breeds"(six editions);"A Breed Apart, The Art Collections of The American Kennel Club and The American Kennel Club Museum of The Dog"; and he co-authored “Best in Show, The Dog in Art from the Renaissance to the Present”, a catalogue published by Yale University Press.
Each painting or plate is identified by the Artist, Title of the painting, medium used, commentary relative to the painting, painting collection, and photographer (when applicable). This format will please the browser, but the commentary will force the browser to read the text for an in-depth discussion of the time and place and historic significance of the art or the breed.
Seventy five breeds are represented and the reader will receive an excellent word and art tour describing the development of the breeds. Many myths are destroyed with facts in Bill’s deliberate style of explaining the history and the social times affecting the breeds. In some cases a painting was claimed to be an early example of multiple breeds. Bill reasons which of these claims has any credibility. The Chapters are:
The Dog in Continental Art
Field Trials and the Sporting Dog Portrait
Early Dog Shows, The Kennel Club and the Pure-Bred Dog Portrait
Queen Victoria and Sir Edwin Landseer
Queen Victoria and Pet Portraits
Between Victoria and World War II
Dog Painting in America
Early Dog Shows and Field Trials
The American Kennel Club
American ‘Royalty’: Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge
Appendix: Selected Dog Artists
This edition was published in February 2009 in Hardcover, Size 12 x 10 inches. What a welcome addition to both the history of Dog Painting and the development of pure-bred dogs. Buy it, read it, study it, use it a source reference document, add it to your library, use it as the centerpiece on the coffee table – you will be enriched by Dog Painting.
The press release truthfully stated: “This magnificent volume is a testament to man’s affection for our canine friends, depicted in art since before the birth of Christ, briefly flourishing in the Renaissance and emerging triumphant in nineteenth century England, Europe and America.”
To order your copies contact:
William Secord Gallery Inc.
52 East 76th Street,
New York, NY, 10021.
Telephone: 212 249-0075
In United Kingdom contact:
The Antique Collectors’ Club
Sandy Lane, Old Martlesham
Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4SD, UK
Telephone: 01394 389950
FAX: 01394 389999