Paintings with a pedigree Janet Gleeson tracks the revival of interest in paintings of dogs, inextricably linked with the current trend towards traditional styles of art and interior decoration IN KEEPING with the present-day passion for the English style’ of interior decoration, Victorian paintings of man’s best friend’ have regained substantial popularity. As Crufts Dog Show captivates the crowds at Earls Court this month, auction houses and galleries attract an abundance of art- and animal-lovers who are happy to fill their walls as well as their hearths with dogs. Enthusiasm for canine pictures peaked during the nineteenth-century, surpassing all social barriers: devotees ranged from the royal family to humble country folk. Dogs became popular as household pets, and affluent middle-class families nurtured a variety of newly available breeds. In 1824, England became the first country to establish a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The first dog show was held in Britain in 1859, and the Kennel Club, which monitors registered breeds of dog, was founded in 1873. Before the nineteenth century, dogs were Log home designs and prices generally regarded as functional beasts, useful only for hunting and working, or as lap dogs -status symbols for the rich.
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