Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Your roving reporter was excited to discover that it is not only politics and the markets that seem to be returning to the 1990s, with their crashes and anxieties – and Rakewell is not talking about the BBC’s recent and surprising preoccupation with the YBA’s ‘Sensation’ exhibition. No, a rather different echelon of society is also doing its best to return things to how they were. This became apparent with the publication of a new book in London this week. Nothing had prepared Rakewell for Top Dogs: A British Love Affair.
Photographer Dylan Thomas (no relation) has carefully documented the relationship between what a publisher’s blurb refers to as ‘creative and hyper-successful people’ and their dogs. Included among such luminaries are gallerist Philip Mould and his whippet Cedric and the minimalist architect John Pawson and his pooch Lochie. Perhaps the crowning name for a dog comes courtesy of founder of Vyrao (the world’s first wellbeing brand to fuse energetic healing with master perfumery), Yasmin Sewell, whose perfect pedigree is called Pizza Hairy Chainsaw. The ‘lucky hounds’ are photographed in places ‘from Jacobean manor to Cumbrian hill farm, and circus wagon to royal residence’. Judging from the photos, it is quite clear that the dogs are calling the shots.
The presence of an expertly coiffed canine set among deeply fashionable cushions in the United Kingdom’s ‘loveliest homes’ may not, in itself, qualify as an exploration of the relationship between pet and owner; thankfully, each of the (human) subjects has been interviewed by Georgina Montagu. And we have no doubt the scenery makes for a lavish spectacle. What more could one want from the country’s leading ‘creatives’? Without them, it’s just a dog’s life, after all.
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