The blogger Limecello does an annual fundraiser for a good cause. She researches charities and finds the ones that really do succeed and don’t waste money on fundraising and whatnot. This year she’s raising money for charity:water, an organization dedicated to bringing sufficient and clean water to people all over the world. Water isn’t just about being clean. It’s a matter of life and death. I urge you to go over to her blog and read about the importance of clean water. You don’t even have to donate (though it would be nice if you did!) Various people have pledged donations if comments reach a certain number. I pledge $100 if I can drive at least 25 comments to the blog via The Ballroom. So please, go on over and comment and mention that Lady B sent you! The goal is 1000 comments by the end of November so get over there. There are also prizes. [I'm told some people don't recognize the link to Limecello's blog. Click here!]
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
In the eighteenth century the English upper classes collected antiquities, pictures and sculpture with an avidity that filled the country houses, and later the museums, of Britain with extraordinary riches. Until the French Revolution spoiled the party, a Grand Tour of Europe, complete with art shopping, was as essential part of a gentleman’s education.
Art shopping often included a portrait, perhaps by Pompeo Batoni, who painted dozens of Grand Tourists, surrounding them with symbols of classical culture.Then they went home and became English country gentlemen with a passion for horses and dogs. George Stubbs was perhaps the most famous portraitist of the British animal, but he had lots of company. Men, women and children were all painted in company with their pets.
The Wild Quartet, my new series that debuts later this month, is based around a group of young men with a passion for art. Caro, the heroine of The Importance of Being Wicked, is the widow of one of the art collectors. Thomas, Duke of Castleton is a horse and dog man. Can you say major conflict? What’s worse, Caro owns a cat.
I love pets in books. What do you think? And what are some of your favorites? Also, feel free to share your favorite dog pictures!