The Kennel Club Art Gallery, based in Mayfair, London, has unveiled a special exhibition to celebrate 150 years of The Kennel Club and the evolution of the bond between dogs and owners.
Canine enthusiasts, historians, art lovers and anyone interested in how man’s best friend developed alongside humans are all welcome to delve into the collection of unique and rare artworks and items displayed, some of which have never been exhibited before.
From being founded 150 years ago today (4 April 1873) by Mr Sewallis Evelyn Shirley MP, and 12 other members, to becoming one of the largest organisations in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training, a collection of original paintings, historical artefacts, vintage photographs and more will be on display in the special exhibition, mapping The Kennel Club’s journey from its beginnings 150 years ago, to now, and the evolution of our canine companions.
The exhibition encapsulates the variety of canine activities developed over time which are now internationally enjoyed by dogs and owners alike – including agility, obedience and field trials – an activity first recognised by The Kennel Club Stud Book in 1865. Archived records, certificates and drawings decipher how The Kennel Club went from the early dog shows, known as the ‘Dog Fancy’ in the 1840s; to larger city shows in the early 1870s, and the creation of the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, which today celebrates the diverse roles dogs play in the modern day – as pets and in society.
The exhibition has been curated as an immersive calendar of the last 150 years of society with nods to significant historic events, such as poignant images of the bomb damage from 1941 on Clarges Street, London, and delving into the history of women in The Kennel Club, such as the Duchess of Newcastle, first Chairman of the Ladies Branch in 1901, and Florence Nagle, who gained full membership for women.
Visitors can explore the evolution of The Kennel Club through first editions of documents still published today, such as the first Kennel Gazette magazine (1880) which printed the first monthly register of dog names, and the first Kennel Club Stud Book (1874) which published the first results of dog shows and field trials from 1859.
Part of the exhibition is dedicated to the future of the organisation – including The Young Kennel Club, founded in 1985 – which inspires the next generation of dog enthusiasts and introduces 6 to 24 year olds into canine activities such as agility, heelwork to music and dog showing, and The Kennel Club’s innovations in canine health.
The exhibition is open to the public at The Kennel Club Art Gallery at 10 Clarges Street, Mayfair, W1J 8AB, from 9:30am to 4:30pm from now until 19 January 2024.