Isabella Stewart Gardner was a force to be reckoned with. She routinely went toe-to-toe with major museums and titans of industry to purchase masterpieces, created a museum unlike any other, and was famous for consistently flouting the social conventions that governed women of her time. However, this book shows another side of Isabella that readers may not expect: her love of dogs.
Richly illustrated with images from the collection and museum archives, this volume allows readers to meet Isabella's favorite dogs (Kitty Wink and Patty Boy), see the litters of puppies she bred, and discover how her dogs were a comfort toward the end of her life. Usually stern in photographs, Isabella - like many people - could not help grinning when posing for photos with puppies. This enthusiasm for dogs is also evident in her correspondence. As she wrote excitedly to her art advisor Bernard Berenson: "Part of my morning's work has been to try to induce two 9 days old fox terrier pups to open their eyes again. They did once; and then clapped them to, with a vim that seemed to say that the box they found themselves in was not the ideal they had come to this world to see!" Even the dogs of celebrities - both celebrities she knew personally, and others she admired from afar - drew her attention. This book also features some of the many photographs she collected of notable people and their dogs, like the painter Anders Zorn and his adorable pup Mouche and Caesar, the regal and loyal terrier who belonged to King Edward VII and even marched in the monarch's funeral parade.
From gathering Renaissance masterpieces to raising Fox Terriers, this book shows that Isabella approached all her tasks with enthusiasm and dedication. By learning about her love of her canine companions, this book presents a more human side of Isabella than typically on display.
Written by Diana Greenwald, Assistant Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Published by Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020
9 x 9 inches