Dogs in Art
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"Antiques Roadshow" Is Dominated by Dog (and Cat!) Regalia Tonight

The popular PBS show is overrun with dog and cat antiques -- find out what objet d'woof is the greatest find.

 |  Nov 12th 2012  |   2 Contributions


Tonight, Nov. 12, Antiques Roadshow premieres a special episode, and we'll be all eyes and ears. It's called Cats & Dogs.

In case you're one of the few who hasn't fallen under the spell of this endlessly entertaining -- and surprisingly scholarly -- dusting-off of buried treasure and miscellaneous junque that folks find in nooks and grannies' attics, know that it's PBS's most-watched primetime series.

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A Buster Brown advertisement.

The influential show has left many marks in the decorative-arts milieu -- like the time, earlier this year,one of its appraisers greeted the daughter of an ex-Royal Observer Corps member.

She came bearing 15 original copies of the iconic "Keep Calm and Carry On," the morale-boosting WWII British propaganda poster. It was believed there were only two known surviving examples outside government archives. By now, that poster is hot stuff on our shores -- one can hardly pass a purveyor of wall art without seeing a reproduction of its stiff-upper-lip slogan. Its dog-friendly reincarnation, "Keep Calm and Walk the Dog," is even emblazoned on retractable leashes! 

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A dog-themed illustration by Arthur Rackham.

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Appraiser Nan Chisholm (right) and a guest with her 1963 Fred Machetanz oil painting. Photo by Jeffrey Dunn. 

So it stands to reason that it was just a matter of time before Roadshow went to the dogs. And so it has, quite glamorously.

Of tonight's special, Roadshow executive producer Marsha Bemko promises, "You'll see fine and furry friends taking all shapes and sizes ... You won't want to miss [it]."

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Guest with a Roseville ivory dog figurine.

The episode will include appraisals featuring canines (and felines, too, for connoisseurs of cat collectibles), sculpted, painted on canvas, and immortalized in pop-culture fossils.

In the latter category, the paws-down most droolworthy item is, in my humble opinion, the one that portrays Pit Bull pride: a vintage Buster Brown Shoes advertisement featuring Buster's adorable brindle pittie, Tige.

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Appraiser Alan Fausel with a guest and his 19th-century oil painting by John Emms. Photo by Jeffrey Dunn.

Also wonderful are the mouthwatering robin's-egg-blue Minton plates depicting dogs painted by the renowned canine artist Sir Edwin Landseer, which the design hound in me is hungry to set the table with at a dinner party. Delicious!

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Sir Edwin Landseer dog plate.

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Francis Calcraft Turner oil painting, 1835.

I also wouldn't mind giving pride of place at my pad to the painted collector's cabinet, circa 1900, whose every front drawer panel sports a sweet dog scene.

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A collector's cabinet, c. 1900.

(Actually, this object could give decoratively DIY-inclined Dogster readers some neat ideas for spiffing up a tired old chest of drawers.) 

Watch Cats & Dogs - Preview on PBS. See more from Antiques Roadshow.

Meanwhile, methinks writer's block would simply never be an obstacle if only the fabulous Fabergé desk-set straight edge were sitting pretty in my dog writer's office. And for a pawsome paperweight, check out the sleeping ceramic dog by Roseville.

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Fabergé desk-set straight-edge.

Check your local PBS listings for show schedules.

Do you have a dog-themed collectible lying around and gathering dust? What are you planning to do with it? Please tell us in the comments!

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