By Nick Waters
One could not have written the script of where the world finds itself today. Within a few short weeks, our lifestyles have changed to such an extent we could never have envisaged – travel, meals out, the theater, dog shows and other pastimes, all things that we once took for granted, are now pleasures to look to the future for.
The previous times the world found itself in very similar situations, albeit for totally different reasons, was during two world wars, so I have selected a small but varied selection of art and memorabilia that was conceived during those troubled times.
The early years of the 20th Century were the golden years for the dog being used as a symbol of nationhood and patriotism. Some of the popular artists of the day were eager to offer their support when it came to being patriotic and supporting their country and also supporting good over evil, by painting pictures that could be reproduced as prints to help boost morale and in some cases raise much needed funds.
|In pursuit are the Allies – a French Bulldog for liberated France, who proudly displays the words "France Libre" on its back, a great bear of Russia with his hammer and sickle, the British Bulldog wearing a Union Jack collar, a Pekingese with the Chinese dragon and the American eagle, its striped wings decorated with stars.
Crying into an empty food bowl in the lower lefthand corner, totally abandoned after backing the wrong side, is a Poodle with the word "Vichy" across its mane, its pompoms in black for mourning. In each corner of the handkerchief is a "V" for victory and in a continuous border is dot-dot-dot-dash, Morse code for V. This also represents the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, written as a victory symphony. Although Beethoven was German, it was adopted by many countries as a victory hymn.One of the rarest of all French Bulldog models was made by what many people regard as the premier porcelain manufacturer in Europe, for the high quality of the porcelain, complexity of modelling and superb painting and gilding – Sèvres. The French Bulldog displays none of these qualities, the dog being crudely modelled sitting on bases either in white or rather badly colored.
They are, though, great patriotic pieces from one of France’s most troubled periods in history, the German occupation of the country during World War II. The Germans insisted that the factory remained open and producing pottery, so as an act of defiance Sèvres produced a French Bulldog as a statement of allegiance to the French nation.
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