The Story behind the Picture: Dogs in Uniform

The Story behind the Picture: Dogs in Uniform

When did portraits of animals in clothing become a thing? Earlier than you may expect. Dogs and other animals have been shown dressed as people throughout the centuries. The works of 19th century caricaturist Isidore Grandville often showed animals in human clothing. However, the popularity of dogs dressed as people is usually considered to have started with the work of Cassius Coolidge.

Coolidge was an American artist, best remembered for his series of paintings collectively known as 'Dogs Playing Poker'. His original work in this series was painted in 1894 and was later followed by a set of sixteen commissioned oil paintings that were used to advertise a brand of cigars. Another similar painting by Coolidge with the title 'Looks Like Four of a Kind' followed in 1910. His artwork has been referenced in popular culture ranging from Cheers, to Family Guy and The Thomas Crown Affair.

Belgian artist Thierry Poncelet has continued the genre and has evolved the idea of dogs in uniform or costume. Famous for painting dogs in suits, military uniforms and Victorian attire, Poncelot's work is very popular and widely available.

Today, the idea of being able to commission a portrait of your dog in human clothing to express his or her personality is still a wonderful idea. Rather than taking up a brush and paints, my artwork starts with your dog visiting my photo studio in Kendal for a photo portrait where I can create high quality photographs. When you see those images a week or so later, you can select the one you would like to use as the basis of the finished portrait art work. Uniforms and period costumes are very popular and I add these digitally to the original photo together with other digital effects to create the finished portrait in the style of an oil painting. Your final portrait will be printed onto a canvas in the size you selected at the time of purchase, and supplied ready to hang on your wall.


Image showing a Dog in Uniform photo portrait by Paul Holland


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