Monthly Archives: August 2016

A Bold Bluff

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge  Oil on Canvas  1894

In 1903, the publishing company Brown & Bigelow commissioned a series of paintings from American artist Cassius Coolidge for cigar advertisements.  Collectively, these are now generally referred to as “Dogs Playing Poker.”  This isn’t a completely accurate description, however, as not all of the paintings were actually gambling.  I particularly like one entitled “One to Tie, Two to Win,” which depicts a baseball game.

For this National Dog Day, I have chosen “A Bold Bluff.”  It’s probably one of the most popular dog paintings of all time, so  it seems fitting.  “Poker Game” is also a popular selection from this series, but that depicts all St. Bernards.  I prefer this one since it shows a more diverse group.

There’s probably nothing on this earth I enjoy more than anthropomorphic animals.  Two of these dogs are even wearing glasses.  I mean come on, what’s not to love?

I especially love the expression of the bulldog.  He is really examining that St. Bernard, who seems to have quite the poker face.  Although we can’t see all of his cards, he looks to have a pair of deuces and a nice stack of chips.

I’d also like to point out that in “Poker Game” an incredibly similar looking dog is also getting looks from his cohorts and seems to be winning there too.  It appears he could be a hustler, but that’s just my interpretation.

Don’t believe me?  Check out the painting “Waterloo” that Coolidge painted in 1906.  It was originally entitled “Judge St. Bernard Wins on a Bluff” and shows this same group moments later.  I love this dog on the right that looks like he was just shaking his head.  Classic.A_Waterloo_Dogs_Playing_Poker

National Dog Day was founded in 2004 by Colleen Paige to raise awareness about dogs of all breeds awaiting adoption.  Learn more at National Dog Day.  If you’re able, go adopt a dog.  If not, go pet someone else’s dog.

HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal

 

June Mendoza  Oil with Pastel  1983

Happy Birthday to Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Princess Royal, who turns 66 today.  Princess Anne holds the title Princess Royal, as she is the eldest daughter of the British Monarch, HRH Queen Elizabeth II.  She is the younger sister of Prince Charles.

Often over shadowed by her older brother and her younger brother, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and their children, Princess Anne began taking on royal duties at a young age.  Following her graduation, she immediately began representing the Royal Family at engagements.  She was the first member of the Royal Family to have an official visit to the Soviet Union in 1990.

Aside from her royal duties, she keeps extremely busy with charitable work.  She has been the president of Save the Children for over twenty years.  She continues to maintain a hectic schedule saying she likes to be busy and is meant to work.

By all accounts, HRH is down to earth and level-headed.  Her children, Zara and Peter, do not have titles.  She refused their right to honorary titles.  Instead, they carry the last name of their father, Mark Phillips, whom she divorced in 1992.  Most would argue this divorce made it easier for nephews Charles and Andrew to obtain divorces shortly after.

Although the divorce caused a bit of a stir, she hasn’t created much controversy.  Aside from some love letters to and from her second husband (hence the divorce), she’s kept a pretty low profile.  Her biggest “scandal” (if one can even call it that), was her statement that the UK should reconsider their ban on horse meat consumption.

The statement caused quite a kerfuffle, particularly since HRH is an accomplished equestrienne.  She was the first British Royal in history to participate in the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 (Zara would follow her in 2012 in London winning a team silver metal).  However, she gave some very legitimate and interesting arguments about horse welfare when owners know they can sell the horses for meat after their athletic careers are over to keep them in good health.

Her official title is Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal, Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Dame Grand Cross and Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

June Mendoza is an Australian portrait painter.  She is a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and has painted several royal portraits.  This painting was commissioned in 1983 for the Royal Scots, in which HRH Princess Anne is the Colonel-in-Chief.

I find this portrait interesting partly because it is so flattering.  Of course, Princess Anne is quite a bit younger in this painting, but it seems she may have taken just the right amount of liberties to accentuate her positive attributes.  It’s also interesting to see her presented in such a girly, fluffy dress.  HRH has always been considered a tomboy, and has never been shy about admitting she has no interest in fashion.  Aside from the odd selection of dress, I think it’s still a lovely portrait.

Happy birthday to the most under appreciated British Royal, HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal!