Rare Breeds: The Dogs of Rare Books and Special Collections

Topsell, Edward. The history of four-footed beasts and serpents. London : Printed by E. Cotes, for G. Sawbridge ... T. Williams ... and T. Johnson, 1658. RB Wing G624.

 

When: Until 31st January 2018

Where: Level 3 Corridor, Fisher Library F03 and Scitech Library

 

They pursue ill-fated hares across the pages of treatises on hunting; captivate poets and artists as the subjects of dedicated portraits and odes; linger quietly as background figures in illustrations and paintings; and populate narratives in all manner of roles from protagonist to confidante.

Dogs appear frequently in cultural records of many kinds dating back to antiquity. This is hardly surprising, given the longevity and strength of their relationship with humans. Their companionship and utility to man have been extensively documented and discussed by historians, scientists and enthusiasts. Also evident is their ability to captivate the human imagination as exemplars and symbols, positive and sinister, from models of loyalty to harbingers of death.

This exhibition presents a selection of cultural depictions of dogs found in Rare Books & Special Collections, and thus a snapshot of the canine-human relationship as expressed in art and literature. From the wild and mysterious to the familiar and faithful, dogs of all kinds have been coaxed from their kennels, dens and chaise-lounges into the spotlight. No doubt there are many more waiting to be found.

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