Rare Book Spotlight – Image: Poodle and Bulldog

This is an interesting image depicting two dogs from opposite ends of the image spectrum. The book was published in 1840 and shows the two dog breeds looking quite unlike the pedigrees that you might see today. Early books about dogs such as this one are a good way of identifying just how much some breed types have changed over the years; something of a hot topic currently in professional dog breeding circles due to ailments that some breeds suffer after years of selective breeding.

The differences are clear. The Bulldog (as shown in this illustration) was a much longer legged beast somewhat closer to what we know today as a Boxer. The Poodle is shown as  being stockier and slightly less curly coated than we might see these days.

Have a look next time you are at the Brighton Pride dog show or Crufts, or compare them to images from any of the books on dogs in our main collection (shelfmark 636.7 is a good place to start).

The series of books from which the illustration is taken was edited by Sir William Jardine (1800-1874) who at the time owned the finest private natural history museum and library inBritain. Jardine popularised natural history to all levels of Victorian society with his publication the Naturalist’s Library (1833-1843) and the series ran to some forty books. This series was divided up into themes: Ornithology (14 vols), Mammalia (13 vols), Entomology (7 vols) and Ichthyology (6 vols). Each of them was written by a leading naturalist of the day.

Volume 10, which contains this illustration, was written by Charles Hamilton Smith, the illustration by James Hope Stewart. Stewart illustrated many of the volumes of the Naturalists Library and although his illustrations for the series ran to a great number and arguably contributed greatly to the success of it, he was always considered an amateur artist who remains in relative obscurity. Other volumes were illustrated by more well known figures such as Edward Lear.

This is one of many volumes of the Naturalists Library in Jubilee library Rare Books and Special Collections.

Main Title: Dogs  

Author:  Lieut.-Col. Charles Hamilton Smith.

Imprint: Edinburgh: W. H. Lizars, [n.d.].

Series Title:   The Naturalist’s Library: edited by Sir William Jardine; parts 1-2, Mammals; vols 18-19.

Josef – Library Officer

The book this illustration is taken from can be found on the catalogue here. To view it and thousands of treasures like it, you will need a Rare book membership. Details can be found here.

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About Alex

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