Monday, September 29, 2008

To See Any Empty Chair Is To Sit On It: The English Dog At Home; PVE And Dogs In Our Decor

By now you might know that I have a first love relationship with English decor. It was the first actual serious decor I attempted. Prior to that I had the original Hollywood glam apartment utilizing Art Deco pieces that were very unwanted and cheap at that time.
I, like many of you, collect picture books, and this one is a favorite, and maybe something you might now find at the beloved Book Thing at Pigtown.
The English Dog At Home (TEDAH) was written by London interior designer Felicity Wigan. At the time of its printing this was her first book, and she was living in Hampshire and London with her husband and three sons.
I am also enamored with the theme of Dogs In Art, so much so that I have been using this dog eared address book for a zillion years (the illustrations are very good, and I promise to do another post on them).
But back to the brilliant TEDAH.
Here we see the ultimate! The Queen, and the Queen Mum with a few of their fourteen Welsh Pembroke Corgis.
I myself had a love affair with a Corgi. I would sing to him: I love you Corgi, to the tune from Porgy and Bess. His official name was Big Drums Jumpstart, but we called him Jumper. His cute girl friend was our first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Winnie.
English dogs at home, do spend alot of time outdoors. Here's Princess Anne at her home Gatcombe Park with two of her three dogs, Random and Apollo.
This is Lambchop with his owner Sir Tatton Sykes in their home Sledmere. Lambchop appreciates the grand staircase of Sledmere, a home built by Capability Brown.
"Melba is extremely intelligent, she listens with rapt attention to everything I say, understands me perfectly, and unlike so many beautiful girls, does not argue," so says Mr. Peter Cadbury of his majestic Great Dane. She has her own sofa in his study (but don't you love his leather chair!) at Armsworth Hill in Hampshire, and her own five-foot double bed built into the boiler room. Any suggestion that she is pampered or spoiled is treated by her master with the contempt it deserves.
Honington Hall is the perfect English country house. Built during the 17th century, gracefully proportioned, secluded in a park with the river Stour flowing below the garden, and the village church at the door. Sonia, Pinky, Muppet, Alexander, Toya, Buster, Figaro, and Zola Budd have plenty of room to share with the lord of the manor, Sir John Wiggin.
I love this book, not only because there are great dogs to look at, but it is also a slice of a particular aspect of English life.
Here is Diane Nutting, mistress of Chicheley Hall built by Georgian craftsmen for Sir John Chester between 1719 an 1723 (and using 955, 550 bricks), with two of her three Scotties: Matthew and Mollie.
This is Puzzle looking adoringly at her owner Loudon Constantine: "Puzzle always has a ball in her mouth, whether feeding her puppies or sitting on her Queen Anne walnut chair in the drawing room. To see an empty chair is to sit on it."
Who of us dog lovers, doesn't sleep with our pooch? Mind you I said we sleep with them, as opposed to them sleeping with us! Here is Phoebe with Mrs. David Keith. Phoebe is the social secretary.
Here is Humphrey hibernating among the hand made shoes! I personally love the velvet pair with the monogram. Humphrey belongs to Mrs. David Metcalfe.
Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk has Muffin, Mishka, Mufti, Molly, Mitzi, Millie, Mumbo, Bessie, and Laura! This is her own breed of a canine cocktail of Pekineses, Carin Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Tibetan Spaniel.
Here is Connor, mascot of The Irish Guards, with Lance Sergeant Brian Rutherford at Wellington Barracks. They are awaiting orders in the colonel's office.
Here we have Jo Jo taking a nap in the home of Lady Saunders, who is known as the television star Katie Boyle.
The working man is also portrayed in TEDAH. Here is Nelson, the dog of Mr. Jack Peach. Mr. Peach and Nelson live in a converted railway carriage. They used to go to sea together, sharing the tiny wheelhouse perched atop the rolling deck, but in old age they are content to let others gather the harvest of the English Channel.
The English Dog At Home comes in hard cover and soft cover. It is 160 pages, each one with a photo of a home and the dog and master who inhabit it (I wish I could scan them all for you!). It is fascinating to see true English interiors, which may seem a bit staid after the razzle dazzle of such great American talent as Mario Buatta.
The people in this book love their dogs, and they tell wonderful stories about them. If you can possibly find this book anywhere, snap it up and add it to your collection HERE
Pictured above is Kelly with his little boy Tom awaiting elevenses in the kitchen basket. Kelly is a mongrel who was raffled for 5o pence in a pub. Today she can hold her own with the best shooting dogs in Yorkshire.

The relationship of the artist and the dog is an ancient connection. This is Mrs. Robert Abel Smith trying to paint Beaufort while two jealous onlookers try to muscle in. Rosie Smith lives in a house with a view of the source of the Thames, and paints Beaufort all the time.
Seeing Rosie Smith in her element, made me think of another wonderful artist, Patricia van Essche, known to us as the blogger PVE. She does many beautiful paintings, among them some very delightful dog (and cat) paintings.
She was recently inspired by my little English dog at home...
...and made this little gem! But did she stop there?
No way! Cholo inspired her to do this painting... image of my closet and dressing room taken for the recent photo shoot done for the October issue of CUE Magazine.
She says she is thinking of doing a book with her dog paintings! I think it's a fantastic idea! You've heard of Elle Decor, now I give you Dogs Decor by PVE!


pve design said...

Wow. Val - you clever thing you.
I love all the photos and the way you just pulled this all together too - "Dogs Decor" my story would be about my difficult boss,(dog- Sir Bentley) and how he must test every chair out prior to acquisition. He is so finicky.

Pigtown-Design said...

Wonderful post! I was just linking back to you on my new post! Great minds and all...

My beloved yellow lab is called Connor and he's a city pound dog who languished there for six weeks before I came along.

Country French Antiques said...

Now I'm strolling down through your post and loving it, then all the sudden see this Obama crap on your sidebar. Thats just what we need, a President who has ties to left wing extremists and praises their radical actions. Only in America!!
Politics aside, I loved your post.
Winnie is too cute and that just happens to be the name of Zoe's (my cavalier's) mother. I'm on my
3rd cavalier now. Such a gentle breed, I LOVE them!!!!
Loved those watercolors too:), but can't you get rid of that distracting face on the side. :)

vicki archer said...

What a post - love it. It makes me realize I must get out and about more in the English countryside!
That book has captured the English and their love for their dogs so well.

As for your closet - that looks like lots of fun to play in.

bayou contessa said...

Oh my goodness! I'm absolutely blown away by the adorable portrait of Cholo by the amazingly talented Patricia! Congratulations on the wonderful cue article, I read it last night. You have had a fascinating life's journey and I love your palace!

Blushing hostess said...

I am a corgi girl as well. My prize girl, Pumpkin (for her color but she is beginning to take on the dimensions of one as well!) is always smiling at me and, one of the smartest animals I have ever known. She is great with our horses now that she is through the herding stage, and a magnificently loveable, respectable creature who also seems to be in charge around here! We've always had a corgi or two around and their portraits - a long devotion to a marvelous breed, I am pleased to say. I hope you're well! Cat

Paul Pincus said...

an AMAZING and INSPIRED post!!! love it : )

cheers to you!

dolcechic said...

I love this post! Such amazing photos. I was bit a few times by dogs when I was a kid. Once by neighbors and once by my own. I still remember both times vividly, as if it were yesterday. You'd think I'd hate dogs, but I just can't. They're so amazing, and love you no matter what!!!! Great post!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

What a great post!! I happen to love the Great Danes...that's who always own us!
Currently, we have Bo...the black dane with four white sneakers!

PVE's drawings are no less than spectacular!

And Cholo...well...divine!

Alkemie said...

This Post is so very fun. I'm totally drooling over PVE's drawings. I'm a huge fan of water colors.


Topsy Turvy said...

PVE's drawings are wonderful, as always. Congrats on the magazine spread - what a great dressing room!


Lara Harris said...

What a fun post! :)