So it’s September 30 and besides being my human’s sister’s birthday it is also National Museum Day. In other words, it’s a day for old things. I had better watch what I say, because my human is even OLDER than her sister…
My human has a bucket list item that includes a museum visit. She has ALWAYS wanted to visit the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog. The museum has been housed for 30 years in St. Louis – which unfortunately is not a day trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia. BUT – good news. Well, bad new for St. Louis, but good news for us on the east coast. In 2018, the museum is returning to its original home in New York City. The museum apparently is home to more than 3,000 books about dogs. Almost as many as my human has. And it has all sorts of paintings and dog “pup”aphernalia. How COOL would it be to see all that dog “stuff?!”
My human could probably start the Canadian Museum of the Dog. OK – she doesn’t have THAT much stuff – although someone once called our house the Lindonian (like the Smithsonian). My human has (besides lots of old dog books) some cool old prints and paintings. None are particularly valuable – but she enjoys them just the same. Here are a few.
But probably the coolest old dog painting she has is the one of a spaniel named Charlie. She bought the painting many years ago – because she wanted to do some research on it. My human LOVES to research old stuff. And it wasn’t actually all that hard to find out something about him. You see, Charlie was painted on the back of a cigar box in 1886. And on the other side of Charlie, there was some information about who owned him – and who painted him. The information was written in what appeared to be India ink.
It says (if you can’t read it) that Charlie “is a spaniel belonging to William Boyd (XXXX something hard to read) 1896. Painted by W.G. Burn-Murdoch at Maxpoffle.” In what appears to be later writing it says “painted on back of cigar box 1886.” None of this meant ANYTHING to my human. She didn’t know Boyd, Burn-Murdoch or where the heck Maxpoffle was. It sounded like some Disney ride.
So my human consulted with her good friend Google – and here is what she found out. William Boyd was the son of John Boyd of Maxpoffle, who was Lord Provost of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. William was member of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet, Edinburgh, which was a branch of the legal profession. So we know who William was. And THEN we find out that William married a woman by the name of Laura Crerar – who was…are ya ready – from Nova Scotia! She traveled to England in 1882 and married William in 1890. OK. So now we have a Nova Scotia connection. But who is W.G. Burn-Murdoch? Well Google told us a BUNCH of stuff about HIM. William Gordon Burn-Murdoch (1862-1939) was a Scottish painter, musician, travel writer and explorer who is said to be the first person to play the bagpipes in Antarctica! He even wrote a book – Edinburgh to Antarctic. Among his other adventures was a trip in 1905 with the Prince and Princess of Wales to India. He liked to get around, write about his travels, and draw and paint what he saw.
So we aren’t sure how Boyd and Burn-Murdoch got together, but the timeline and places go together. We picture a visit by Burn-Murdoch to the Boyd family home – and a request to paint the family dog. Burn-Murdoch didn’t have any canvas handy, so he grabbed a cigar box and painted a quick portrait of Charlie. Who SOMEHOW came BACK to Nova Scotia. And ended up in a little shop where my human found him… And he became part of our museum.
So today we celebrate Museums, Charlie AND my human’s sister. Old stuff. Good stuff.
Have a good one. Peace and paws up.