It is always so pleasurable to come to the opening of the Kennel Club exhibitions and the latest one, Treasures of the Far East, was no exception.
The breeds featured are not breeds that we would normally put together, but how it has paid off for the adventurous Dr Andreas Schemel and Marianne Walker, Art Collection Curator from the KC Library and Gallery. I must not forget to thank the man who brings it all together and hangs it, Paul MacBeth, always mentioned but so many people do not know him - check on the group photograph and you will find him!
Toy people all know Deirdre Ashdown and her lovely covers for the UK Toy Championship Show schedules and catalogues, Deirdre now lives in Hungary and sadly couldn't come to the exhibition, but has done so much work towards it. There was a buzz of conversation when people walked into the gallery and saw the exhibition and I must say it is exciting, you are surrounded by so much not seen before.
This is the first exhibition to have all the wall display cabinets open and in use because of all the ceramics and sculptures included in the show. Note the lovely models of not only Japanese Chin, Chows and Pekes but also Japanese Akita Inu and Akitas.
For lovers of the Chinese Crested there are some very early artefacts dating from the 1900s. Immediately you come in, the kimono on the wall draws you closer to it to examine the Japanese Chin hand painted across its surface. Japanese artists' work is well represented, but an unusual aspect is artists who we know well, this time painting in a slightly different way to their usual style. This is especially true of the Maud Earl on display and don't just take my word for it as the Kennel Club has other Maud Earls displayed in other parts of the building, go and see for yourself.
I spoke to some of the guests at the private viewing and they were all thrilled to have the opportunity to see things that normally hang in private collections. An interesting section was on the work of Dr Sigmund Freud who was a lover of the Chow.
Winnie Mee, who with Mr John Shaw is a well-known Pekingese breeder and exhibitor, bought two lovely Pekes with her which stole the show.
I asked Dr Schemel if he had anything to add and he said; 'The interesting thing about these breeds is that they have remained so popular for so long.'
The Chairman of the Kennel Club, Mr Simon Luxmoore, opened the exhibition with some well chosen words, thanking individually the lenders. Like all good Chairmen he makes people feel relaxed and welcome. He expressed thanks to all the lenders as, although we have a large collection of our own at the KC, we could not put on these exhibitions without the support of lenders.
Can I just add that you do not have to be a member of the Kennel Club to make a visit, you just have to contact the art gallery to make an appointment. Why not have a day in London over Christmas and one port of call, 'Treasures of the Far East' at the Kennel Club Art Gallery and have a look at the world famous canine Library while you are there.
The exhibition will run from the 14th September 2017 to the 19th January 2018. The gallery is open Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm by appointment, to book call 0207 518 1064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph from the opening of the exhibition at the Kennel Club Art Gallery, from left to right: Mr P MacBeth, Miss W Mee holding Donna, Dr A S Schemel, holding Dillon, Mr S Luxmoore, Chairman of the Kennel Club, Mr H Kamisato, Mrs S Jakeman. Copyright Zoe Guild/ The Kennel Club.
Ch Tenling Golden Arrow of Pekehuis, oil on canvas by J Williams, c. 20th Century. Copyright Private Collection
Two Pekingese playing with a ball, painting on silk by Maud Earl c. 19th Century. Copyright Private Collection
HRH Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Princess of Wales, print after an oil on canvas by Luke Fildes RA 1893. Copyright the Kennel Club.
Japanese Chin on a table, oil on canvas by Frances Fairman 1905. Copyright the Kennel Club Arts Foundation.