Ptolemy’s Canis Major and Canis Minor

Above is a photograph of an illustrated page from Ptolemy’s Almagest, first written in 150CE, although this copy was clearly produced much later! It depicts the constellations of canis major and canis minor and apparently served as an astronomer’s and astrologist’s guide book. It was first translated in Latin in the 12th century (according the The … More Ptolemy’s Canis Major and Canis Minor

Solomon’s Dog

Solomon ben Isaac, Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Rashi’s commentary (ff. 1-272), Five Scrolls (Hamesh megillot; ff. 273-311v) and Haftarot(ff. 312-381) with Rashi’s commentary (detail) France; 14th century. See link for more details:  ( This manuscript extract, from the British Library,  is written in Hebrew (?) and dates from the 1300s in France. I don’t … More Solomon’s Dog

Detailed dogs

Izumiya Tomotada, (1811-1883) was a fairly prolific Japanese ‘netsuke’ carver during the 18th century. “ A netsuke is a small sculptural object which has gradually developed in Japan over a period of more than three hundred years. Netsuke (singular and plural) initially served both functional and aesthetic purposes. The traditional form of Japanese dress, the … More Detailed dogs

Romanus Caninus dogus

These photographs of mosaics depicting chained dogs come from the southern Italian town of Pompeii, which was infamously captured in time by the eruption of Mount Versuvius in 79 CE. The majority of historians believe these mosaics would have worked in much the same way that “Beware of the dog” signs work now-a-days – to deter … More Romanus Caninus dogus

The Arnolfini’s dog

  Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441) painted this work, The Arnolfini Portrait, (1434). “This work is a portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, but is not intended as a record of their wedding. His wife is not pregnant, as is often thought, but holding up her full-skirted dress in the contemporary fashion. Arnolfini … More The Arnolfini’s dog

Dogs on dogs

Marc Biboud, (1923-2016), Two Dog Acrobats, (1953). Here the late French photographer captures a fleeting shot of Parisian circus life as two dogs are (probably) forced to walk the tightrope to the amusment and awe of the crowd below. A cup for donations stands in the foreground on an ominous looking straw laden crate – … More Dogs on dogs

Drawing Dogs

Ford Maddox Brown, (1821-1893) was an English painter of the Pre-Raphaelite school. Above is an undated Study of a Greyhound, graphite on off-white paper.

The Venus’ Companion

Titian (1488 – 1576) was a prolific and gifted Venetian painter during the late Renaissance. The above painting, The Venus of Urbino (1538) is thought by many scholars to be metaphor for the perfect marriage, owing to the cassone or marriage chests depicted in the background which would have been used to transport the bride’s trousseau to her … More The Venus’ Companion