Edward Mayhew on dogs

In our collection of watercolours by Edward Mayhew there is only one featuring dogs.

Illustration of dogs by Edward MayhewThe top image is captioned ‘Dog with retracted eye – near the termination(?) of  distemper’ and the bottom ‘The lasting effect left by nitrate of silver when applied to an ulcer on the eye of the dog.’

The fact that there is only one painting of dogs could be considered somewhat surprising as Mayhew wrote regularly on canine matters.  For example

  • On the effects of inhalation of the fumes of ether on dogs and cats, and by inference, on the horse; with the probable utility of such in veterinary medicine. (Veterinarian 1847 Vol XX pp 86-89)
  • Comparative pathology elucidated by injection of cold water into the uterus (Veterinarian 1848 Vol XXI pp 554 -561) which describes the treatment of a bitch with an inverted and protruding uterus.
  • The catheter passable in dogs (Veterinarian 1849 Vol XXII pp 16-19) which was the first account of the passage of a urinary catheter in dogs.

In the 1848 article Mayhew reveals that his practice dealt mainly in dogs – ‘[the] public have favoured me by consulting me largely upon the disease of dogs”.  His writings on dogs culminated in the 1854 publication:

Dogs: their management:  being a new plan of treating the animal based upon a consideration of his natural temperament (London: George Routledge).

The title page states the work is ‘illustrated by numerous woodcuts depicting the character and position of the dog when suffering disease’ but the illustrator is not named.  Was it Mayhew? If not were they based on originals by Mayhew like his later books on horses?

A possible clue to the illustrator can be found in Volume 4 of Frederick Smiths Early History of Veterinary Literature and its British development  where he describes two works by Mayhew published in 1854 –  the one listed above and another Dogs: their management and treatment issued under the pseudonym F. Forester.  However Frank Forester is now known to be the pseudonym of Henry William Herbert (1807-1858)  a novelist, journalist and illustrator who emigrated to the United States in 1831.

Searching for Forester and dogs quickly lead me to a revised edition (published 1857)  of a book titled The Dog by Dinks, Mayhew and Hutchinson compiled, abridged, edited and illustrated by Frank Forester.  This book is a compilation of  three separate, previously published works, on dogs including Mayhew’s which is described as the second American edition.  Does this mean that the illustrations in Mayhew’s 1854 book (which are exactly the same in the Forester compilation as in the individually published version)  were by Forester?  Certainly that is what most people seem to believe according to my internet search.

Further searching on Forester/Herbert led me to the Life and writings of Frank Forester edited by David W Judd (London, F Warne, 1882).  The section on Forester as editor states

“As the editor of other persons’ writings … Herbert was little more than a bookseller’s hack, lending his name and making a few annotations to previously published volumes, to secure for them a more rapid sale”

So presumably the version of Mayhew’s book that Smith refers to as issued under the pseudonym F. Forester was simply a repackage for the American market.  All of which might be considered to cast doubt on Forester as illustrator of Mayhew’s book.

Whoever the illustrator was the pictures offer an interesting insight into canine practice in the 1850s.  They show how to recognise healthy dogs as in the case of the Scotch Terrier below where ‘the coat is by the artist truthfully depicted as remarkably long, full and hairy’.

Scotch Terrier

Scotch Terrier

Illustrate dogs suffering from various diseases

Edward Mayhew Dogs: their management - Inflammation of the lungsEdward Mayhew's Dogs: their management - A mad dog on the march

(Note the man running away in the background from the rabid dog)

Edward Mayhew's Dogs: their management - Acute rheumatism

and show various veterinary treatments

Edward Mayhew's Dogs: their management - Dog with canker cap onEdward Mayhew's Dogs: their management - A dog taped or muzzled for operation

This entry was posted in Archives, Dogs, Historical Collection and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Edward Mayhew on dogs

  1. Pingback: The artistic Mr Mayhew | RCVS Knowledge Library

  2. Orchard Vets says:

    What a real piece of detective-work! Many thanks Clare for another fascinating story.
    Niall

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