About Paws For Thought

When it comes to our current understanding of dogs and their meaning we have a fair few visual motifs that seem so set in the realms of ‘trope’ that we hardly think to question their meaning. However, the development, popularity, and meaning of canine representations can indicate a lot about the broader social, cultural, and political concerns of the time.

Paws for Thought stems from this idea.

Tony South, Bill Sykes, 2009. Oil on Canvas, 75 x 100cm

Tony South, Bill Sykes, 2009. Oil on Canvas, 75 x 100cm

This blog is a byproduct of my current PhD research—which aims to look at popular canine motifs as they existed in Victorian Britain. Tracing the prominence of various dog motifs through the lens of visual culture I hope to be able to produce a monograph study documenting popular canine representations of the time.

Readers can expect to see posts on this blog pertaining to this research, as well as posts that look more generally at canine representations, animal studies, social history and art history. My aim is to make this blog as accessible as possible, so it is written in a (mostly) non-academic manner.

About the Author

I first attended Plymouth University in 2008, undertaking and BA(hons) degree in Art History. It was during this degree that I gained an interest in animal representations throughout the Victorian period, and my undergraduate thesis looked at various ways in which the middle-classes ‘negotiated’ emerging attachments to domesticated dogs.

Graduating from my BA(hons) with a First Class degree I continued on with my research—branching out to look at feminized felines and their masculine canine counterparts in Victorian moralizing imagery as part of an MRes in Art History. I finished my MRes in 2012, achieving a Distinction.

Still finding potential in the history of hounds my PhD has shifted back to looking solely at the dog. While it’s fair to say my research interests mainly concern dogs and the British Victorian art world I am also interested in the broader subject of animal histories and Nineteenth-century art as a whole.

Contact Details

I can be contacted via e-mail at amy.robson@students.plymouth.ac.uk

Alternatively you can find me on Twitter at @AmyPRobson

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