Thursday, January 22, 2009
A Favourite Royal Companion
In The Duchess of Devonshire’s blog, Heather writes a fun and interesting series on pooches in paintings. In an earlier post, last summer, she wrote about the famous and adorable ‘Pug’. Well, lover of animals that I am, and since the pug was also Josephine’s favourite breed of dogs- I just had to write about it as well!
This cute little pooch was considered royalty as far back as 700BC. Originating in China, the pug was exclusively a member of Royal Dynasties. No one else was allowed to even own a pug! They were very prestigious, holding such high rank that they were actually paraded in front of invited guests, trotting in ahead of their masters!
Ongoing debate has historians wavering as to whom exactly imported the Pug from China. Consensus now has it that the Pug was brought to Holland from China by Dutch traders in the 16th century- and they were soon a hit with the Royal families. Pugs were considered as family members, priveleged pets and sometimes offered as exceptionally precious gifts.
Josephine loved pugs as well. Her beloved Fortuné was so attached to her that he just wouldn’t concede her to Bonaparte; not even on the couple’s wedding night…Story has it that Fortuné, who always slept in Josephine’s bed, refused to share this comfort, or his beloved, with Napoleon. There was a minor confrontation between pug and ‘beau’. Napoleon may have won that battle, but not without injury to his leg!
After the passing of her beloved Fortuné, Josephine always had a house full of pugs to entertain and keep her company. Even after her divorce, as she was leaving the palace forever, she was concerned about the new litter of pups just born. Reassuringly, Hortense and the servants had already gathered them all into her carriage to be brought to Malmaison with her. Josephine would have pugs around until the very end.
These adorable little dogs won the hearts of many Royals. Marie Antoinette always surrounded by her devoted little companions, Madame de Pompadour, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Queen Victoria (who bred her own), to name a few.
Look at that face- Who could resist it?
Posted by Lucy at 9:15 AM