One of the world’s largest collections of canine art, The Kennel Club Art Gallery, is celebrating turning 20 this weekend, having first opened its doors to the public in 2003. This Sunday, 24 September marks the 20th anniversary of the gallery in Mayfair, which, since being founded two decades ago, has hosted a plethora of canine art; from remarkable photographs, historical artefacts and rare paintings, to better known items, like the famous Crufts Best in Show trophy – all celebrating man’s best friend.
The Kennel Club Art Gallery was set up for all dog, art and history lovers alike and has welcomed visitors from across the globe, showcasing thousands of different items across over 40 carefully curated exhibitions and collections. The Gallery prides itself on having curated over 200 works by around 80 different female artists – proportionately more than other London galleries.
The Gallery holds history dating back much further than its own 20 years, with a collection spanning from the 1st century right up to the current 21st century, tracing our unique bond with canines through art. The oldest item is a Celtic silver coin with a relief of a large dog, resembling a Great Dane, and dated to the Iron Age between AD8-41. The oldest painting dates back to 1670 and is an oil canvas by a Flemish painter, Pieter Boel, showing two large sporting dogs, resembling a Dalmatian and Newfoundland type, believed to have inspired some of the tapestry that would have adorned the walls of the Louvre when it was a palace prior to becoming a museum.
This year, The Kennel Club marked a monumental milestone, reaching 150 years since its founding as the first Kennel Club in the world in 1873 by Mr Sewallis Evelyn Shirley, MP, and 12 other members. Visitors have their last opportunity to visit the current special exhibition held within the organisation’s gallery 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.
Ciara Farrell, The Kennel Club’s Library and Collections manager, said: “When looking back through the last 150 years and The Kennel Club archives, it was challenging to squeeze all the history into one curated collection.
“We were keen to ensure there was a celebration of the longstanding connection between the Royal Family and The Kennel Club, starting back in the reign of Queen Victoria to the late Queen Elizabeth II. We are honoured to be exhibiting for the first time a stunning new acquisition of a pair of dress studs that belonged to Francis Clark, Queen Victoria’s Highland Attendant, which feature in two original photographs of Queen Victoria’s favourite dogs, Sharp and Noble.”
The Gallery is open generally to the public at The Kennel Club Art Gallery at 10 Clarges Street, Mayfair, W1J 8AB, Monday to Friday 9:30am to 4:30pm by appointment. The current exhibition celebrating The Kennel Club’s 150 years is on until 19 January 2024.
To book your visit, please Macro alias: ContactsWidget or call 020 7518 1064.
To find out more about The Kennel Club Art Gallery, visit the website or follow the Gallery’s Instagram at instagram.com/thekennelclubukcollections.
More information on The Kennel Club’s history and 150 year anniversary, including a video about the organisation and its impact, from its beginnings to today, and plans for the future, is available here.