Friday, January 12, 2018

Cool 19th Century Places to Visit: The Kennel Club Library and Art Gallery

I have a list—a very, very long list—that continues to grow each time I delve into research for a book. It’s a list of places related to the nineteenth century that I’d love to visit (and I few I already have). This year I’ll be sharing them with you, so you can add to your list too.

I came across this one recently purely by accident, but my wonderful critique partner Kristy J. Manhattan and I are already making plans to go to the Kennel Club Library in London next time we’re in England.

The Kennel Club was the first of its kind in the world, a club devoted to the showing and health of dogs. Dog shows and field trials were gaining in popularity in England toward the middle of the nineteenth century, and the founders wanted a way to standardize rules and ensure no harm came to the animals. Founded in 1873, the Kennel Club published its first registry of purebred dogs, its Stud Book, a year later.

The Kennel Club library includes all its Stud Books, listing animals and owners, as well as catalogues from many historic dog shows. Some books predate the club by more than two centuries. Can you imagine what you might learn about our nineteenth century heroes and heroines? Did some manly duke prefer to show Pekinese? Was there a dainty lady who distinguished herself for breeding gun dogs?

In addition, the Kennel Club makes available its art gallery, featuring thousands of paintings depicting dogs through the ages. Many pieces have been borrowed from private collections or major English collections such as the Tate. Artists include such renowned nineteenth century painters as award-winning landscape artist Richard Ansdell and prolific puppy painter Arthur Wardle.

You can learn more about the library and art gallery at the websites, including directions, hours of operation (by appointment only), and holdings.    

You can also get the details on the Twilight Bark, I suspect. 😊

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