Books serve to preserve and transmit information both geographically and temporally but almost from the very beginning they have often also been objects d’art.  From the earliest illuminated manuscripts to today’s deluxe editions, scribes, printers, and bookbinders have enhanced the value of manuscripts and books by adding elaborate decoration to the information contained within them.

Manuscripts have decorative illuminations that range from simple enhanced capitals or rubrics, to intricate and colorful capitals, borders, and full illustrations.

A page from the Book of Kells (c. 800 AD) showing illuminated capitals. From Wikimedia Commons.

Decorations have been applied to every surface and aspect of the book. The endpapers have been colored, marbled, bordered with gilt tooling, and featured pictorial decorations. Special paperstock, color plates, and original illustrations often appear in modern limited editions. Some books have elaborate book clasps, slipcases, or clam shell boxes. The edges of the page block have been gilded, colored, marbled, and even enhanced with full paintings known as fore-edge paintings.

Fore-edge painting of a polo scene on Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott (1873). The gift of John H. and Martha Daniels.

The outside of the book has also been used for decoration.  Vellum, leather and cloth covers have been produced in many different colors. Sometimes covers feature designs made with inlaid elements, gilt tooling, or embossing.  Gilt lettering appears on the boards as well as the spine, as do pictorial decorations. To get a closer look at a wide variety of book bindings I highly recommend visiting the Folger Shakespeare Library’s special digital collection of bindings here.

The Library’s collection contains many examples of decorative bindings. Recently I was working with our rare books on dogs and hounds for another project and noticed a profusion of decorative covers that I’d like to share.  

Some of the designs, although detailed, are small, such as this fox terrier which appears in the bottom corner of the front cover of its book and is only about two inches across.

A History and Description, with Reminiscences, of the Fox Terrier by Rawdon B. Lee (1890). The gift of Harry T. Peters, Jr.

Many of the covers feature portraits such as these noble looking hounds…

Upper left: Dogs of the British Islands by J.H. Walsh (1878). The gift of Dorothy Wagstaff Ripley. Upper right: Scotch Deer-Hounds and their Masters by George Cupples (1894). The gift of Dr. Timothy Greenan. Lower left: Spaniels by H.W. Carlton (1931). The gift of Jacqueline B. Mars. Lower right: The Dog by William Youatt (1858).

Others depict full body images such as this training manual featuring what appears to be some sort of pointer, although one with an oddly shaped head.

Dog Breaking by W.N. Hutchinson (1848)

Some of the covers incorporate the title of the book into the decorative image.

Left: Training and Handling of the Dog by B. Waters (1894). The gift of John H. and Martha Daniels. Right: The Spaniel and its Training by F.H.F. Mercer (1890).

I especially like the unusual cover for Dogs and Their Doings. This book is a collection of anecdotes describing the surprising and often heroic actions of specific dogs.

Dogs and Their Doings by Rev. F.O. Morris (1872). The gift of Mrs. Eva C. Stewart.

Although most of the images were gilt, which is eye-catching and would have been especially so when the volumes were new, there were a few decorated in either color images or black images

Left: British Dogs at Work by A. Croxton Smith (1906). The gift of Joseph B. Thomas IV. Right: Hunting Dogs by Oliver Hartley (1909).

If you’d like to explore books as objects d’art or to read about the history of bookbinding, you’re welcome to come browse the Main Reading Room.  If you’d like to get a look at some of our more elaborate bindings or editions, you’ll need to schedule a visit to the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.  Contact me for an appointment, I’d love to share some of our treasures with you.


Erica Libhart has served as the Mars Technical Services Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2016. The focus of her position is collection services, working to increase accessibility to NSLM’s collection of books, periodicals, and archival materials. The NSLM collections span over 350 years of the history of equestrian sport, as well as fly fishing, wing shooting, and other field sports. Have a question? Contact Erica by e-mail.

This year, the NSLM is fortunate to have received numerous gifts of art from several generous donors. One such gift is a rare set of 22 hand-colored aquatints from 1807 and 1808, Orme’s Collection of British Field Sports: Illustrated in Twenty Beautifully Coloured Engravings from Designs by S. Howitt – an impressively long name for an impressive set of works on paper. Published by Edward Orme of London (who proudly labeled himself as “Printseller to the King”)  the series features scenes of hunting, shooting, and racing. The works were recently donated to the NSLM by George and Susan Matelich and Family.

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(after) W. M. Craig (English, c. 1765-c.1834), Engraved by James Godby (English, active 1790-1820) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820), Orme’s Collection of British Field Sports: Illustrated in Twenty Beautifully coloured Engravings from Designs by S. Howitt (Title Page), Published by Edward Orme, January 1, 1807 hand-colored aquatint, image: 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George & Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.01)

Originally housed in a large folio case, the prints are now framed individually. Yet all 20 plates, plus the title page, list of plates, and the original illustrated folio cover are still together. Oftentimes, these types of works are broken up and sold separately, never to be reunited. Full sets are rare.  Another complete set that is still bound as a folio can be found in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art.

(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822) Engraved by James Godby (English, active 1790-1820) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820) Horse Racing Published by Edward Orme, January 1, 1807 hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George and Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.04)
(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by James Godby (English, active 1790-1820) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820), Horse Racing, Published by Edward Orme, January 1, 1807, hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George & Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.04)

Samuel Howitt was an artist known for his images of hunting, animals, and equestrian scenes. This set includes some of his best works and was a prized collection piece. Often described as a highly important set of English sporting images, these prints are excellent examples of the popular sporting art being produced at the beginning of the 19th century.

(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822) Engraved by James Godby (English, active 1790-1820) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800-c.1820) Stag Hunting 1 Published by Edward Orme, March 1, 1807 hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George and Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.07)
(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by James Godby (English, active 1790-1820) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800-c.1820), Stag Hunting 1, Published by Edward Orme, March 1, 1807, hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George & Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.07)

The engravings are titled in both English and French. They are in excellent condition, with colors that are still vibrant – no small feat for fragile works on paper that are 210 years old. Deep reds and blues are usually the first to fade.

Detail of Stag Hunting 1
Detail of Stag Hunting 1, showing the fine condition of the blue and red colors

Each are numbered and feature the name of the artist, printmaker, and engraver in small script along the bottom edge.

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“Sam’l Howitt del.”

For those of you who have prints hanging on your walls at home and have wondered what the abbreviations stand for, here is a quick Latin lesson:
del. is short for delineavit, meaning  “Drawn By”
excudit means “Printed by” or “Published by”
sculp. or sculpt. is short for sculpsit, which means “Engraved by”

(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by John Clark (English, active 1775-1825) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820) Shooters Going Out in a Morning Published by Edward Orme, March 25, 1808 hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George and Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.03)
(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by John Clark (English, active 1775-1825) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820), Shooters Going Out in a Morning, Published by Edward Orme, March 25, 1808, hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George & Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.03)

The List of Plates includes a charming image of a hare. The same hare can be found in the collection of the British Museum in London.

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(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by J. Swaine (English, 1775-1860), Hare, Published by Edward Orme, March 9, 1808, 24 x 32 cm, British Museum, Donated by Nan Ino Cooper, Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and Lady Dingwall, In Memory of Auberon Thomas Herbert, 9th Baron Lucas of Crudwell and 5th Lord Dingwall, 1917 (1917,1208.3170)

(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by John Clark (English, active 1775-1825) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820) Pheasant Shooting 1 Published by Edward Orme, June 1, 1807 hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George and Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.13)
(after) Samuel Howitt (English, 1765-1822), Engraved by John Clark (English, active 1775-1825) and Henri Merke (Swiss, active c.1800 – c.1820), Pheasant Shooting 1, Published by Edward Orme, June 1, 1807, hand-colored aquatint, 13 ¼ x 17 ⅜ inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of George & Susan Matelich and Family, 2016 (2016.04.13)

These works are now part of the growing collection of prints and drawings in the NSLM art collection and we look forward to putting them on view soon. You can see other works on paper from the permanent collection in the special exhibition Picturing English Pastimes: Sporting Prints at the NSLM, currently on view in the Museum. Curated by visiting John H. Daniels Fellow Jennifer Strotz, this installation of late 18th and early 19th century prints focuses on the British print market and equestrian subjects.


Nicole Stribling is CuNicole Stribling is Curator of Permanent Collections at the NSLM. She has worked at the NSLM since December 2012. As Curator of Permanent Collections, she catalogs and cares for the fine art collections and manages the registrar duties for the collection and loans, coordinating packing, shipping, and insurance arrangements. Prior to the NSLM, Nicole worked at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in the American and British Paintings Department and in the Exhibitions Department. She earned her BA in Art History from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia and is currently pursuing her MA in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University.rator of Permanent Collections at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM). She catalogs and cares for the art collection, which includes paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and decorative arts ranging from the 17th through 21st centuries. Have a question about the NSLM collections? Contact Nicole by email.

Walking through the rare book room recently a title jumped out at me.  Boldly printed in gold on a dark blue spine was the title, Dog Prints.  Being a big fan of dogs and actually preferring to see people’s dog photos, I pulled the book off the shelf to take a look.  It is a collection of 89 engravings of dogs dated from 1792 to 1835.  Nearly all of the engravings are portraits depicting individual named dogs.  About half are accompanied by brief comments outlining the pictured dog’s lineage, accomplishments, ownership, or sharing an interesting anecdote about the dog.  Breeds pictured include greyhounds, harriers, pointers, foxhounds, spaniels, terriers, setters, beagles, bulldogs, staghounds, and deerhounds.

Here are three that I especially enjoyed.

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“Pincher is the property of Mr. Cooper, the painter, for whom his attachment was extraordinary; he frequently gave him away, but to whatever distance he was taken, he speedily returned: at length his master met with an accident which proved fatal to him, and his body falling into the hands of strangers, no one could force the affectionate animal from him, until his son made his appearance, and many were bitten in attempting to remove him, not knowing it was his dog.   S.M. Nov. 1811”

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“Drake, a water-spaniel, the property of Lord Charles Kerr.  In the month of August 1813, Lord Charles made a match with J. Cock, Esq. Jun., to play a game of Cricket, His Lordship backing his servant James Bridger and his dog Drake, against Mr. Cock with Wm. Witherell.  The match which was for 50 guineas per side, was played at Hold Pound Cricketing Ground, near Farnham, Surry, on Monday, August 16th, 1813.  The post assigned to Drake was that of catching the ball, the only way in which he could be serviceable, but, as he always caught it at the first bound, he was perhaps a more expert and efficient partner than many Bipeds.    S.M. August 1814”

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“The canine landing net.  The late Mr. S. Burnes of Tooley Street, Southwark, well known as an excellent shot, was likewise one of the best fly-fishers in the kingdom.  He had a pointer dog, called Old York, who frequently was his most orderly companion in that sport, and if a very heavy fish had entangled itself in the weeds, or the bank was particularly unfavourable, Old York would go in, and taking the fish behind the head, bring it out to his master, unbruised, and generally without breaking the tackle.    S.M. May 1819”

The book itself is a bit of a mystery.  There’s no publication information in it.  No compiler or date of creation is listed.  Looking more closely at the engravings I noted that they were all published by either, J. Wheble, J. Wheble & J. Pittman, or J. Pittman, all of Warwick Square, London.  The commentary that accompanies many of the engravings is credited to S.M. and dated with a month and year, and one or two of these comments mention “this magazine.”  A quick internet search turned up the book A Dictionary of Printers and Printing by C.H. Timperley which had a brief biography of John Wheble who published the magazine Sporting Magazine.  Luckily NSLM has this magazine in our Main Reading Room, and I was able to confirm that the material in Dog Prints is indeed from that publication.

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At this point however, I’m at a dead end.  I would guess that Dog Prints was compiled and privately printed by an individual.  It has certainly been customized by an individual as the engravings are numbered by hand and it has a handwritten index.  There is also a clipping from a newspaper or magazine pasted into the book next to the index.  It is a letter from a Mr. Grantley Berkeley to the Committee of the Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Animals.  Although no publication information is visible on the article, there is an ad with the date June 1839 on its reverse.

Beyond these bits of information one may only speculate on the origin of this book.  Regardless of its origins, Dog Prints is a lovely collection of engravings well worth looking at.  I would encourage readers to come to the library and peruse our copies of Sporting Magazine available in the reading alcoves in our Main Reading Room.  This periodical contains all the engravings in Dog Prints as well as numerous others featuring a variety of sporting subjects.  Dog Prints itself is housed in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.


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Erica Libhart has served as the Mars Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2016. The focus of her position is collection services, working to increase accessibility to NSLM’s collection of books, periodicals, and archival materials. The NSLM collections span over 350 years of the history of equestrian sport, as well as fly fishing, wing shooting, and other field sports. Have a question? Contact Erica by e-mail

We have many things in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room, including many beautifully-decorated books. Often, though, fascinating things don’t have gilt, engravings, or woodblock prints. A tiny (five inches by three inches), leather-bound tome came to hand last week, and it turned into today’s highlight.

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The Generous Sportsman, or, a Brief Discourse of Setting Doggs by A Lover of the Setting Sport. Ca. 1725, bound in early sheep skin, book stamped “Riders 1666” on verso. National Sporting Library & Museum, acquired 1994, the gift of John H. Daniels. F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.

The book is in the manuscripts collection, and is entirely hand written. As the title page indicates, it is a very early (estimated early 18th Century) work on setters, including a general overview of the breed, and discusses training and traits desired for hunting.

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“Shooting Scene,” from Presentation Copy to William Edkins by Samuel Howitt (c. 1756-1822). National Sporting Library & Museum, acquired 2014.

The author discusses best practices for hunting with dogs, whether allowing them more freedom to roam the field or less is more useful for catching scent. The book also claims that dogs with mottled or black coats are desirable, as they are more visible in the evening hours when bird hunting occurred.

The bookseller’s slips that accompany the book indicate that this is the earliest known book in the English language about a particular breed of dog. It also contains the first known mention of the pointer breed by name. The book was purchased as a Christmas gift for John H. Daniels by his wife Martha in 1993.

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Reportedly the earliest known written reference to the pointer. “Should theze omitt mentioning another kind of Doggs much in Vogue with some by ye term of Naturall Pointer, by some called Spanish Trotter.”

The work is clearly legible, with a little patience. There are many abbreviations to save space in the little notebook, and the non-standardized spelling of the day also challenges the modern reader. However, the handwriting is surprisingly clear once you adjust to it.

What book has surprised you with great content in a humble cover? Do you find reading our highlight images to be difficult? Let us know in the comments below or send us an e-mail!


Wedding Photography by Spiering Photography

John Connolly has served as the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) since early 2014. He is responsible for the care of the Library collections, including books, magazines, photographs, diaries, letters, and much more. The NSLM collections span over 350 years of the history of equestrian sport, as well as fly fishing, wing shooting, and other field sports. Have a question? Contact John by e-mail

Have you ever seen an incredibly large painting and wondered how the artist knew what they would be painting before taking on such a large project? Artists often begin with a series of studies, sometimes called sketches, which allow them to practice before committing to a larger work.

The NSLM collection includes a series of nine portraits of hounds by German/American artist Gustav Muss-Arnolt (1858 – 1927) done in preparation for a larger piece The Meadow Brook Hounds Meet at the Old Westbury Pond (c. 1885), commissioned by August Belmont, Jr. (1853 – 1924), acting Master of Foxhounds for the Meadow Brook Hunt during the 1884 – 1885 season and builder of New York’s famous Belmont Park racetrack.

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Gustave Muss-Arnolt, Matchless, c. 1885, oil on canvas, 10 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches, Gift of Harry T. Peters, Jr., 1973

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Chanticleer

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Baronet

Muss-Arnolt was a talented painter of dogs – and definitely what we would call a “dog person.” He was a noted dog show judge and an important part of the American Kennel Club and many other early American dog clubs.

The paintings were recently put back on view in the Museum’s Vine Hill Galleries and have fabulous names like “Matchless,” “Chanticleer,” and “Baronet.” These pieces were donated to the NSLM in 1973 by Mr. Harry T. Peters, Jr. whose father, Harry T. Peters, Sr., was MFH of the Meadow Brook Hunt from 1926 – 1946.

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Gustave Muss-Arnolt, Portraits of the Meadow Brook Hounds, c. 1885, oil on canvas, 10 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches each, Gift of Harry T. Peters, Jr., 1973

The paintings are interesting because they not only show the artistic process used by Muss-Arnolt, but because of several connections they share with pieces in our book collection. In the main reading room of our library is a book entitled The Story of American Foxhunting vol. II by J.B. Van Urk.

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Frontispiece of The Story of American Foxhunting, Vol. II, by J. Blan Van Urk (New York: The Derrydale Press, 1941).

 

Van Urk’s book includes both an illustration of the hound pieces, as well as an image of the final version of The Meadow Brook Hounds Meet at the Old Westbury Pond. Can you spot which hounds from the studies are in the larger piece?

Connections like these abound in our collections, and we continue to have fun discovering them!


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Frances Monroe is the Membership & Visitor Engagement Coordinator at the National Sporting Library & Museum. She helps visitors engage more fully with the Library and Museum collections through participation in events, programs, and tours. She also coordinates the NSLM’s volunteer program.

Welcome to our redesigned blog format! As we head into 2016,  the blog looks a bit newer, but we’ll continue to write about all the wonderful objects in our collections. Today, we highlight one of the many items in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room that cross the boundary between art and books. Today’s highlight is an unbound, undated collection of 13 drawings in pencil and watercolor by sporting artist Robert Ball (1890-1975).

Mallards. The collection is original drawings and watercolors, most depicting animals in nature.
Mallards. The collection is original drawings and watercolors, most depicting animals in nature.

Ball's style is subtle and soft, and the images in the collection are extremely charming.
Ball’s style is subtle and soft, and the images in the collection are extremely charming.

Ball’s illustrations can be found in several sporting books published by the Derrydale Press. He also drew the iconic masthead and cover illustration that adorned the Chronicle of the Horse for decades.

Doe and Fawns.
Doe and Fawns.

Messenger, 1788. Messenger was an important foundational sire of racing blood stock in the United States. Imported shortly after the American Revolution, Messenger was a British thoroughbred descended from the Godolphin Arabian.
Messenger, 1788. Messenger was an important foundational sire of racing blood stock in the United States. Imported shortly after the American Revolution, Messenger was a British thoroughbred descended from the Godolphin Arabian.

These drawings, collected by John Daniels, are tipped into a folder and protected in a clamshell box. Daniels was a meticulous record-keeper, a habit that often provides moments of insight into how his books were collected. A note in the box identifies this collection as a birthday gift from his wife, Martha, in 1993.

Foxhound.
Foxhound.

Today’s highlight from the Library collection is a scrapbook of lithographed plates by sporting illustrator Henry Alken (1785-1851). Alken was a leading illustrator of sporting topics in England during his lifetime, working in engravings as well as oils and watercolors. This Sporting Scrap Book (published in 1824 by Thomas McLean) features fifty plates that include complete scenes and image collages on many different country sports.

The plates in this scrapbook feature a wide variety of subjects. What might be considered non sequitur today made logical sense in Alken's time: shooting, foxhunting, and riding were all connected as leisure pursuits of the landed classes.
The plates in this scrapbook feature a wide variety of subjects. What might be considered non sequitur today made logical sense in Alken’s time: shooting, foxhunting, and riding were all connected as leisure pursuits of the landed classes.

The Sporting Scrap Book is one of dozens of early and first editions of Alken’s work collected by John Daniels. Today, the book is housed in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room on the Library’s Lower Level.

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Alken’s work is very flexible; he could be humorous and satirical, but he also possessed the ability to capture subjects seriously as well.

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Very business-like hounds. Many breeds of dogs served specific roles as hunters.

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Look closely! A hare hides in the grass. Other popular quarry for hunters included fox and badger.

If you’d like to learn more about the development of hunting and shooting (and the dogs that made it all possible), don’t miss our ongoing exhibition, “Side-by-Side with Gun & Dog” at the Museum until March 20. Can’t visit us before then? The Side-by-Side catalog is available for purchase now so you can enjoy the artwork from home!

Cecil Aldin (1870-1935) was a British artist and illustrator, known for his portrayal of animals and country sports. Here at NSLM we have many books illustrated by him, and quite a few written by him, too. I find his art and his writing to be charming, so I couldn’t resist using another of his works for this post.

The stars of the book are Aldin's own duo, Micky and Cracker.
The stars of the book are Aldin’s own duo, Micky and Cracker.

We’ve blogged about some of Aldin’s work before, but nothing quite so “doggy” as this! Dogs of Character is a labor of love in which Aldin highlights the humorous habits, misadventures, and quirks of his lovable canine companions.

Aldin also relates humorous tales about other dogs he had encountered, including "Sturdee," the dog who chewed through doors with lightning speed!
Aldin also relates humorous tales about other dogs he had encountered, including “Sturdee,” the dog who chewed through doors with lightning speed!

It’s hard not to laugh along with Aldin. And honestly, who wouldn’t make a book about all their dog adventures if they had Aldin’s artistic ability?

Cracker likes to sleep atop Micky. If Aldin is to be believed, Micky won a dog show award for MOST POPULAR DOG IN SHOW, and Cracker won another for THE UGLIEST DOG IN SHOW.
Cracker likes to sleep atop Micky. If Aldin is to be believed, Micky won a dog show award for MOST POPULAR DOG IN SHOW, and Cracker won another for THE UGLIEST DOG IN SHOW.

The narrative of the book is very relaxed, and follows an easy,  conversational tone. One can easily imagine Aldin dispensing wisdom on the care of canines with illustrative misadventures, such as the time he got locked in a dog kennel by accident or the time his dog “Sturdee,” having been caught off the leash, chewed his way out of a jail cell door in the police station!

The stars, jealous of sharing the limelight with other dogs.
The stars, jealous of sharing the limelight with other dogs.

Do you have a special pup in your life? If you love dogs, don’t forget to check out the current Museum exhibition at NSLM, Side-by-Side with Gun & Dog.

This is one of over 100 books available to purchase through the NSLM Annual Auction. Time is running out! The Annual Auction, composed of duplicates from the Library collections, will end on November 8. This year’s Auction includes some lovely sporting art and is perfect for holiday shopping; contact John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian to bid.

Last week I showed you some images from “Howitt’s Animals,” a two-volume presentation set of etchings by Samuel Howitt (1765-1822). We did a brief article on these volumes in the Fall 2014 NSLM Newsletter, but I wanted to show off more of the images than we had space for in print. Without further ado, let’s get to the pretty pictures!

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I find it very easy to see the influence of the country on Howitt. He often chooses images that would be passed over by the mere sportsman, such as a mother tending to her pups.

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The stealthy approach? Maybe one of our readers who is more familiar with wing shooting and dogs can tell me more about what’s depicted here.

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Howitt’s animals sometimes have very large eyes, which strikes my modern eye as cartoonish. The detail, however, is quite fine in the antlers.

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I admit, this one makes me chuckle. If that horse on the right isn’t a parody of somebody that Howitt knew, I’ll eat my hat! Those horses are flat-out gossiping.

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An impressive depiction of a hare. Whenever I show this volume, people like to stop on this page and look for a few minutes.

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Growing up in the country, Howitt likely spent a good deal of time around cows. His trees always seem to twist and turn, too. Many of these images have excited branches stretching out into smaller branches close to the ground.

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This is my favorite. These sheep really stand out to me. Maybe it’s the realistic detail in the horns, the ears, the eyes.

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I love it! It merits a closer look.