As with most collectors, I don't stop at collecting just one thing. Aside from my passion for all things miniature, I also collect vintage ephemera and delight in discovering illustrations and images, particularly those which relate to my interests in childhood and toys.
The interweb is a rich hunting ground for vintage images, and the other day I came across this, which has me completely intrigued....
As a child, I always liked to imagine the back story behind illustrations in my books, and would spend hours weaving a tale sometimes only tenuously connected to the one related to the original story. So when I saw this picture, I just couldn't resist.
To the untutored eye, it's just a drawing of a dog riding a goat but on closer inspection there is SO MUCH more going on.
For instance, why is the dog wearing a suit? Surely he would have much more control without it, as is evidenced by the fact that he's already lost his hat, possibly in a bucking incident.
Also, it's not just any old suit.
It's a particularly fine suit, with fitted breeches, lace trimmed shirt and cropped jacket. It's probably silk and the lace is almost certainly handmade.
So the dog is either very wealthy, or he has stolen the suit from a small child. This latter hypothesis may explain why he is making his escape on the goat, which is possibly also stolen, compounding the felony.
I'm not entirely sure what sort of dog it is, but it's definitely a terrior. Possibly only a terrior would be foolhardy enough to ride a goat bareback, disdaining the relative safety of saddle and stirrups.
Certainly, the expression on the dog's face and the fact that you can just see the tip of his tongue sticking out, suggests extreme determination and concentration.
He is obviously a confident rider, as is evidenced by the fact he's using string for reins, and keeping a very light hold on them. If I were ever to ride a goat I'm sure I'd be gripping onto the reins for dear life. I suspect that he's 'steering' the goat by use of his knees, which are firmly gripping the goat's sides.
In contrast to the relatively relaxed demeanour of the dog, the goat is most definitely not a willing participant. Possibly buoyed by the fact that he's managed to dislodge the dog's fine feather hat, he's head down, desperately trying to unseat his rider. I'd wager this goat has never been ridden before, although the presence of the halter may suggest otherwise.
I'm slightly confused by the position of the hat on the ground. The goat looks as if it's travelling at a fair speed which would mean that the hat would fly off backwards. However the hat is to the side and slightly to the front which suggests that it fell off earlier and either the goat is running round in circles, or the dog has deliberately ridden back in order to retrieve the hat, possibly by leaning over and grabbing it his mouth as he passes.
I wouldn't put anything past that dog.
Also, note the position of the dog's tail. You can tell a lot about a dog from its tail...especially if the dog in question is a terrior.
That is one relaxed tail..... moving in harmony with its owner. However, its presence raises yet more questions. For instance there must be an opening in the back of the breeches to allow it through. So perhaps they were specially designed for the dog. Also, while it may be possible for a well co-ordinated dog to wriggle into a pair of breeches, tucking its tail down one of the legs, it takes some precision to get a tail through a hole. While I'll admit I'm in awe of the dog's multi-faceted ability, I'm not convinced he would be able to get dressed himself.
Which means he must have had an accomplice. Presumably NOT the goat.
I feel that the answers are tantalisingly within reach but I'll have to give it much more thought. Feel free to chip in with any thoughts you may have.
I would also like to point out that because I've been so busy lately, I haven't had time for any displacement activity whatsoever.....