Monday, 13 February 2012

Best Actor...WITH DOGS

"Never work with animals or children"...

Aristocratic illusion: Van Dyck has never been surpassed at making dogs and children look real and regal at the same time. Charles is shown aged five, having just been breeched; his sister Mary is four, and James is only two. [Image source for The Three Eldest Children of Charles I in The Royal Collection: Wikipaintings]

...unless you're Charles II....

Forever associated with King Charles Spaniels, he was the king who decreed that this most beguiling breed of dog be allowed in all public spaces, including Parliament that he abhorred and the theatre that he enjoyed.

Contemporaries like John Evelyn were shocked by the latitude Charles gave his dogs: "He took delight in having a number of little spaniels follow him and lie in his bed-chamber, where he often suffered the bitches to puppy and give suck, which rendered it very offensive, and indeed made the whole court nasty and stinking".

Unsurprisingly, given his experience of factious parliamentarians and scheming courtiers, Charles preferred dogs to people, particularly politicians, and few among us would dare cast the first stone against him for that.

STILL REGAL TODAY: Photograph by Martin Huebscher Photography