Bonhams 28th Dog Art Sale just wrapped up and the most talked about piece, Charles Dickens's leather and brass dog collar has surpassed expectations of its $4,000 - $6,000 estimate, selling for $11, 590. The collar, engraved with the Victorian author's name, C. Dickens, Esq., and address, Gad's Hill, Place, Hingham, was featured in Bonhams's catalogue with this article depicting Dickens's fondness for his many dogs and, as in the case of General George Washington, his originality in naming them:
'All animals which he took under his especial patronage seemed to have a marked affection for him. Quite a colony of dogs has always been a feature at Gad's Hill. When Dickens returned home from his last visit to America, these dogs were frequently spoken of in his letters. In May, 1868, he writes: "As you ask me about the dogs, I begin with them. The two Newfoundland dogs coming to meet me, with the usual carriage and the usual driver, and beholding me coming in my usual dress out at the usual door, it struck me that their recollection of my having been absent for any unusual time was at once cancelled. They behaved (they are both young dogs) exactly in their usual manner; coming behind the basket phaeton as we trotted along, and lifting their heads to have their ears pulled,—a special attention which they receive from no one else. But when I drove into the stable-yard, Linda (the St. Bernard) was greatly excited, weeping profusely, and throwing herself on her back that she might caress my foot with her great fore-paws. M.'s little dog, too, Mrs. Bouncer, barked in the greatest agitation, on being called down and asked, 'Who is this?' tearing round and round me like the dog in the Faust outlines."' James T. Fields, Atlantic, August, 1870
And in case the Winter Olympics is not satisfying your need to indulge in nationalistic stereotyping, I offer you a few more dog collars to interpret based on nation of origin...
Iron dog collar with protective spikes from Germany, 17th century. Sold for $1, 342.
In the painting category, the star of the show, John Emms's The Bitchpack of the Meath Foxhounds failed to realize its $500,000 - $700,000 estimate. But it did sell for a respectable $482,000. Given that another Emms painting, The New Forest Hounds, sold for the world record price of $842,250 in 2006, I'd say whoever purchased The Bitchpack got a great deal.
The Bitchpack of the Meath Foxhounds by John Emms, 1896. Sold for $482,000.
See all the auction results here.