|A Jack in Office|
Sir Edwin Landseer, 1833
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Ha! Early Nineteenth political humor (humour). You see, when this painting was finished, a slang expression for a pompous government official was "a jack in office." And, that’s what this painting is called. But, it's not a governmental official...no, it's a doggie. A Jack Russell Terrier! Ha! Oh, Edwin Landseer, you slay me with your canine antics.
All teasing aside, I do like this painting by the always wonderful Landseer and I think it's quite clever. Completed in 1833, a critic at the time described how "the well-fed and much caressed dog…keeps others from testing the food of which he has had too much." Sounds like a politician to me.
The painting was given to the V&A by John Sheepshanks in 1857
This is one of Sir Edwin's most clearly anthropomorphic treatments of human matters in canine terms. A other critic said that the piece was "enormously popular, providing fable, parody, humour, and narrative in a single image."