An Early 20thC Life-Size Painted Papier-Mâché Model of a Bulldog c.1900-20

Origin: British
Period: Edwardian / Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-20
Height: 18”
Width: 14”
Depth: 25” (all at maximum)

The unique life-size hand painted papier-mâché model of a British bulldog in lifelike pigments of off white and black, standing in an alert pose, his head slightly raised, surviving from the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Remaining in good overall condition, the piece doesn’t suffer from any severe rotting or spoiling. He stands soundly with expected wear to the extremities and one small piece of loss to the nose as photographed. The feet have craquelure, whilst there are a few small hairlines here and there which all add to the character.

Papier mâché became an industry in England in 1772 when Henry Clay of Birmingham took out a patent for its making and as a result produced the inexpensive plastic of its time, easily be molded into desired shapes. As indicated by its name, it was mashed or pulped paper, which was first, molded, then baked, to drive off the moisture that had reduced it to pulp. When it became firm and hard it was finished with an enamel-like coat of paint and was then ready for a wide variety of decorative treatment. This little chap would have been crafted by a keen amateur and has endured well since, with very few like this of any age surviving.

The well-loved British Bulldog or ‘bully’ as they are fondly known are dependable, gentle dogs and they are notorious for snoring, grunting, drooling, and flatulence.

This is a unique and highly desirable decorator’s piece.