Four special dog sculptures to visit in London – and what they mean

Statues are usually made to commemorate an important or beloved figure, so it’s no surprise that dogs have been carved in stone on several occasions.

You are bound to find plenty of dog statues in and around London, but have you ever taken the time to stop, look and learn why they are there.

TeamDogs have put together a list of four statues to visit on your next trip to the capital – let us know what you think in the comments below.

Read more here:London homeless man “on the verge of death” proposes to charity worker who “saved his life” and uses Coca-Cola as wedding ring

1. Brown dog, Battersea Park

The second statue of the Brown Dog, erected in 1985

The Battersea Park ‘Brown Dog’ statue is one of the city’s most famous. Located to the north of the site, it lies along the stretch between the Old English Garden and the Peace Pagoda.

A statue was originally erected here in 1906, after it was commissioned by activists protesting the use of vivisection (experimental surgery performed on living animals) at University College London.

The bronze sculpture, designed by Joseph Whitehead, was intended to commemorate a brown terrier that had been unlawfully and inhumanely operated on by William Bayliss in front of 60 medical students. He was accompanied by a provocative plaque condemning the UCL.

The memorial was frequently vandalized, requiring 24-hour police protection, and sparked a series of clashes known as the Brown Dog Riots.

Despite a petition of 20,000 people to save it, the statue was secretly removed by the Battersea Council in 1910, in an effort to end the conflict.

A new sculpture by artist Nicola Hicks, which can be found there today, was added later in 1985. The statue is based on his own burrow, called Brock.

2. Trump the Pug, Chiswick High Street

Trump the pug alongside his master, William Hogarth
Trump the pug alongside his master, William Hogarth

Although it now has other connotations, ‘Trump’ was once associated with the famous 18 e Century engraver and painter William Hogarth, who had a beloved dog of the same name.

The couple’s bond was first immortalized in Hogarth’s self-portrait, “Painter and his Pug” (1745), now on display at the Tate Gallery.

Residents of West London can also find a model of the duo at Chiswick High Street. Sculpted by Jim Mathieson in 2001, the artwork is a stone’s throw from Hogarth’s country retreat.

Patrons included contemporary artist David Hockney, as well as the Hogarth Health Club, developers of Chiswick Park and Sainsbury’s Local. An additional £ 10,000 was raised so that Hogarth’s puppy could be included alongside his master.

A resin copy of Just Trump was then commissioned by the William Hogarth Trust, for the William Hogarth School Playground, in 2008.

3. The dogs of Alcibiades, Victoria Park

The dogs of Alcibiades guard the entrance to Bonner Street in Victoria Park
The dogs of Alcibiades guard the entrance to Bonner Street in Victoria Park

If you’ve visited Victoria Park in the past, you’ve probably strolled between the next dog statue – or a set of statues, in this case – on our list.

These two identical beasts of stone proudly guard the gates of the entrance to Bonner Street Park in Bethnal Green, east London.

Modeled from marble, the Molossian Hounds couple were gifted by Lady Aignarth in 1912 and is possibly a monument to her husband.

Their name refers to a 5 e century Athenian statesman who was a friend of the infamous moralist philosopher Socrates. Strangely enough, Alcibiades actually only had one dog!

Although briefly withdrawn and replaced with replicas by Tower Hamlets Council in 2009, the real coins were reinstated ahead of the London Olympics and continue to act as guardians of the park.

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4. Dog and Pot, Blackfriars

Michael Painter's version of the Dog and Pot sculpture
Michael Painter’s version of the Dog and Pot sculpture

This fun addition is intended for literature lovers, as well as dog lovers.

Created on the occasion of Charles Dickens’ bicentennial in 2012, the Dog and Pot sculpture is a replica of a statue the world-famous Victorian novelist passed by at the age of 12 on his way to work.

He even wrote that he had seen “the image of a golden dog licking a golden pot over a store door” when he turned to Blackfriars Road every day, in his autobiography.

The original element, which was actually a store sign, is said to date from the 16th e century. It was previously on display at the Cuming Museum, Elephant and Castle.

Well, thanks to Michael Painter, carpenter and artist, you can have a similar experience leaving Southwark station.

Look at the lamppost diagonally towards the exit and you’ll spot its version, which features a dog carved from an elm tree and an iron pot.

This statue actually has its own Twitter account, called @dogandpot. Dickens’ great-great-grandson revealed it too!

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