Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wanted: Camp Follower or Pack Horse

Women following the 18th century army did a lot of odd jobs. Laundry, mending, nursing. Gathering firewood, cooking, hauling water. I haven't come across this job before, though:

In a very common 18th century print trope, a dog appears in the foreground. Seriously--check out any selection of 18th century prints or political cartoons. At least half will feature a dog. Half of the dogs will be piddling. Some art historians suggests that the piddling dog serves as a commentary on the scene depicted--that it's meant to be taken satirically or derisively, because of the piddling pup. I'm not sure that's always the case, but this dog's actions definitely seem to be a commentary on the scene! Mother dog hauling puppy, hearty camp follower hauling officer.

Come across anything that's made you laugh today?


Sarah said...

We talked about this in my US History class. In many of the famous Revolutionary cartoons made at the time--like taking down King George's statue in NYC--there is always a dog. There's even a drawing of a dog in one of the first meetings of Congress.

The Dreamstress said...

Wow! That's hilarious, and dreadful! I had not noticed the piddling dog trend.