Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Sleeping Dogs of Cecil Aldin

Cecil Aldin (1870-1935) was a British illustrator who loved to draw dogs.

He illustrated a book called Sleeping Partners featuring his dogs "Cracker," a white bull terrier, and "Micky," a dark Irish wolfhound. 

Micky was the tolerant type who would let his buddy walk all over him.

One of Aldin's teachers was Frank Calderon, who wrote one of the best books on animal anatomy. 

Aldin drew for the Illustrated London News, where he developed a following that later translated into print sales.

He used his own dogs and those of his friends for models. 

He called his own dogs "The Professionals" and visiting dogs "The Amateurs."

He would let them run loose in his big studio and wait patiently for them to settle into a sleeping position. He often did a quick outline from life and then elaborated it from memory later.

Aldin's dogs became so famous from his drawings that they received their own fan mail. When at last the bull terrier died, The Times wrote an obituary:
Cracker, the bull terrier, for many years the beloved companion and favourite model of the late Cecil Aldin, died July 31st, Mallorca. Deeply mourned.
On the Web


Sleeping Dogs on GurneyJourney


Tom Hart said...

What a delightful way to start my day, not to mention a reminder that many of us are fortunate to have such models at hand - if not always sleeping. Also, I'm glad that this prompted me to order the Calderon book. Perusing it on Amazon, I realized that my library is sorely lacking such a reference (very reasonably priced, if a little "long in the tooth" - so to speak).

Warren JB said...

"He often did a quick outline from life and then elaborated it from memory later."

Blimey! I wonder how involved his initial outlines were, or how photographic his memory was, because there's a lot of life and detail in those.

Ditto to Tom. I thought I was familiar with the animals section of the Dover Books webstore, but I had to search for the Calderon book there. That'll find it's place on my own bookshelf before long.

David Webb said...

These are great. The drawings are so full of character.

I do think the little black dog in the lower picture though, does not look as contented as the one asleep on top of him.

Rich said...

Such amusingly cute amazingly well-drawn still lives.