1930, 1948, af, alec, art, artist, arts, australia, battle, bloomsbury, bob, canvas, chalk, chalker, chalking, chalks, dog, dogs, edward, england, essex, fox, gawler, gray, haired, harris, heath, history, leigh, liverpool, london, lucy, news, newspaper, on, pavement, pavement art, paving, philip, publication, screever, screeving, sea, sealyham, social, square, stone, street, terrier, terrior, trafalger, uk, urban, urbancanvas, wire
Every Dog will have it’s Day!
It’s a well-known fact that dogs have very little respect for art; any pavement artist will tell you a multitude of stories about dogs with dirty paws, walking over their work after hours of screeving, and dogs that see the rear end of a pavement artist as the perfect place to urinate, or, in some cases, even attempt sex with! It’s an ugly business.
Yep, it’s true; screevers and dogs have enjoyed a close and sometimes intimate relationship for many years, and despite the odd negative tale; here, I’ve collected a series of heart-warming stories and photographs, proving that dogs are indeed, a pavement artists best friend!
A F Harris: The Screever of Dogs!
Screever Dogs were a common sight on the streets of London, especially between the 1920’s and 30’s. It was a common ploy to take along a dog on a day’s screeving in the city, the theory being that having a dog would illicit more pennies from the public. It often worked, and some screevers wouldn’t stop at just dogs; there are even stories of monkeys, parrots & cats as the pavement artist’s companion.
Albert Harris was well known in London for his portraits of dogs, every day he would set up at his pitch outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and paint nothing else. He specialized in Wire Haired Fox Terriers, and would often use his own dog as a model. I don’t know the name of his dog, but a Fox Terrier is a surprising screever dog in that, by temperament, it has a low threshold for boredom and requires constant stimulation, exercise and attention. Not really the kind of dog that would be content with hours spent on the pavement.
They are often fond of chasing cars, bicycles, other dogs. The wire fox terrier was developed in England by fox hunting enthusiasts, designed to hunt not only foxes, but also badgers and boars. Needless to say, they are hated by postmen for their ability to taunt and quickly out manoeuvre its prey!
In 1930, Albert Harris became the world first ever 3D pavement artist; you can read about it here in my related blog!
Little Lucy of Gawler Place
I came across this little tale from Australia 1936:
In Gawler place a little black woolly dog of uncertain breed sits with a small collecting tin held in its mouth gazing with bright-eyed appeal at the passers-by. She is Lucy, the invaluable assistant of Alec Gray, a pavement artist who has recently come to Adelaide.
Lucy not only holds the tin for small coins, but on her own initiative takes it round when a crowd assembles. And should a coin fall out of the tin, Lucy, with great care, picks it up and gives it to her master.
But Lucy, whom the pavement artist has owned for six years, does not spend all her time collecting. When she feels like it, she lies down and sleeps peacefully amid the clatter of feet, or sits beside her master just watching life go by. There is a tin of water near her post.
“She’s a faithful little animal,” said her master during the week, and Lucy looked up at him as if in agreement. “I’ve made Gawler place my pitch because of the shade for Lucy,” he added.
Mr Gray said that he had been a pavement artist for about 30 of his 57 years. He started this calling in Liverpool, England, and went to Sydney 23 years ago. There, with the exception of a few visits to Melbourne, he stayed until recently, when he decided to move to Adelaide.
His occupation gives him a living he says.
Published in The Mail newspaper; Adelaide, 28th November 1936
The dog who knew mild from bitter!
“Bloomsbury Bob” is dead. And Bloomsbury mourns. Bob was only a shaggy scrap of a mongrel. You would never have noticed him in the street. But around Hart-street, WC where Mrs Cot, his owner, lives, he was famous.
Bob was the motorist’s ideal. He never crossed any of the busy streets around his home without glancing up at the traffic lights. If they were green he would trot across.
Bob had his regular morning calls. He always popped in at the local wine merchant’s for three lumps of sugar. He would not leave until he was served.
Next he called at a nearby fishmonger’s and washed the sugar down with a swig of water. This was his daily habit. He never varied.
Bob was friendly with everybody in the district, but he had two special pals, Paddy, the cat, and Mary, a pavement artists monkey. Every afternoon, he would sit a watch the world go by as the pavement artist worked his pitch.
“He was a real character,” Mrs Cot told me, “Almost human.
“He was teetotal, but knew the difference between a Bass and a mild-and-bitter.”
Published in The Daily Mirror newspaper; 7th May 1938
This Dog needs a Bark
And here’s a little tail from England 1948
Peggy, the mechanical Sealyham, sits up and begs, wags her head and shakes her paws whenever her owner and builder, pavement artist Edward Heath, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, wishes. But nobody notices Edward pulling strings behind his pictures. Now Edward wants to get her a bark.
NOTE: The Sealyham Terrier is a rare Welsh breed of small to medium-sized terrier that originated in Wales as a working dog; and what a handsome chappie he is too!
Published in The Daily Mail newspaper; 7th December 1948
Written & Researched by Philip Battle
Visit my Artists of The Paving Stone page on Facebook!