Saturday, 25 April 2015

Of Dogs and Décor

 Dogs have been 'mans best friend' for hundreds of years, living side by side with us in our homes and even sharing our beds. It is no wonder then that so many choose to capture their beloved animals in paintings..a commemorative depiction of their much too short lives. During the eighteenth century in particular, the aristocracy were very keen to include their dogs in paintings. Perhaps one of the most famous is of Madame de Pompadour who was painted by François Boucher with her pooch standing sweetly by her side. Others chose to devote the entire canvas to their canines, a perfect example above from the collection at Chatsworth.  The fashion to use dogs as part of décor has never really left the classic home and if you really search enthusiastically many antique paintings are still available to add to your collections. 

Madame de Pompadour commissioned this painting to send a message to her former lover King Louis XV. She wanted to emphasise that although they were no longer lovers, she would still be a loyal courtier and confidante. If you look closely to the bottom left, you will see her loyal little pet sitting patiently on the bench. 

It was Mario Buatta who first piqued my interest in delightful Canine paintings and how they can be used to great effect in a room. Since then I have always admired the beauty and elegance of our beloved friends who grace the walls in gilded frames. In Mario's New York apartment, the paintings are almost everywhere you look and even more lovely with their ribbon, connecting each one together.

The exuberance of this interior always makes me smile. The menagerie of colour and pattern could be garish but somehow works beautifully well. 

Another Buatta interior. This time the dogs were used to delight visitors at The Kips Bay Show House.

The American socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor was famed for her fine taste and who can forget this inspiring staircase which sweeps through the air, watched on by an adorable pack of dogs. 

Brooke Astor the tastemaker in another of her exquisite residencies. 

When I first saw Iris Apfel's New York apartment in the pages of Architectural Digest I was struck not only by the eccentricity of the design but also by the wonderful clutter that she had amassed and arranged so perfectly over the years. This is a home that tells the story of a life lived to its fullest with every space filled with objets of beauty and interest. 

The above picture is a hallway in the apartment. I love how this space has been used to store more treasures and the dog paintings work so well in adding to the chic cluttered look.

A penchant for dogs? This one holds a selection of jewellery.

I have yet to start collecting canine art, so for now this one will just have to do!


  1. Agree with your sentiments- cant imagine my life or homes without my dogs. Have yet to commission them in paint but like you are happy to have numerous snaps of them. Sandy,Milo and Ruby are very much a part of our lives. Feel enrinched with them on board.
    Gorgeous photos above, enjoyed them
    Marilyn xx

    1. Thank you Marilyn! Wishing you many happy years with your beloved dogs x

  2. I loved this post Nicolas!... as a dog lover - you might just know Penny and Britt the two beloved ShihTzu's in our lives, I am always drawn to paintings of doggies! I love the idea of them being in a group in one's hallway... what a happy entrance that would make! Your lovely girl is so pretty! Jenny xx

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