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Object of the Day: “Mac,” by Cecil Aldin, 1912 (Reposted from Thursday, May 12, 2011)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

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Several years ago, when my Bertie came to live here with me, I purchased a series of loose pages which had been extracted from an antique book. I wasn’t sure what they were, but they featured beautiful drawings of a West Highland White Terrier in the style of Herbert Dicksee. I wasn’t sure who had drawn the images or who had written the book—or even what the book was. But, I loved the images and framed them to hang around the room where Bertie keeps his toys and dishes.


A little terrier-like investigation revealed that the pages were from an 1912 book called Mac with images and text by Cecil Aldin. Published in England, the book is written in Scottish dialect and follows the adventures of “Mac,” a Westie and his other canine friends.

Aldin, a contemporary of Dicksee who drew images of Caesar for the King Edward VII book “Where’s Master?”, was born in Berkshire in 1870—the son of a Kensington home builder. He studied under the well-known illustrators John Leech and Randolph Caldecott and became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1898.

These charming illustrations capture the true spirit of a Westie—curious, stubborn, playful and bright. I appreciate these pictures because they remind me of Bertie. This is one of my favorites. One of Bertie’s games is to steal my shoes—sometimes right off of my feet—and hide them. Shoes, to Bertie, represent the act of my leaving, so they are his natural enemy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught him in this very pose.


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