support this site to honor a unique star in the history of talking
machines. Nipper was a a
terrier whose lineage is commonly thought to be a mix of Fox and Bull
Terrier. But his pedigre didn't matter. It was his curiousity and
famous pose as he listened to sounds from a machine that epitomized
what this new wonder was introducing to the world.
1884 in Bristol, England, Nipper was painted listening to a phonograph
in late 1898 three years after Nipper's death. The original painting
by Francis Barraud displayed an Edison-Bell Phonograph as the source
of Nipper's interest. In 1898 Barraud repainted the Phonograph with
a Berliner Gramophone and it was this painting that would become the
trademark for Eldridge Johnson's Victor Talking Machine Company (which
Johnson took over from Emile Berliner).
ear cocked sitting in front of a talking machine listening to "His
Master's Voice," Nipper would be seen in countless advertisements
into the 21st century and far outlive the Victor and its generation
of listeners. It is one of the great advertising ironies that the
dog that couldn't find a home with the Edison Phonograph went on to
become one of the most famous marketing images of all time, doing
so for Edison's chief competitor, the Victor Talking Machine Company.
Click on this image to enter
the Nipper Art Gallery and see other Nipper
inspired works of art
11, 1899, Francis filed an application for copyright of this painting
“Dog Looking At and Listening to a Phonograph.” According to Leonard
Petts, author of The story of 'Nipper' and the 'His Master's Voice'
picture painted by Francis Barraud, negotiations for the transfer
of the copyright of the repainted picture with the Gramophone "were
completed with Barraud by 31st January 1900 and on 6th February the
Company applied for a "Memorandum of the Assignment of Copyright of
the painting of Dog looking into and listening to a Gramophone and
entitled His Master's Voice."" Nipper made his first appearance
on the Gramophone Company's advertising literature on the Record Supplement
for January 1900.on-chandeliers-ba5010sh.html
painting (see below, left) by Francis Barraud, Nipper's owner and
brother of the original owner, displayed an Edison Phonograph as the
subject talking machine.
right is a photograph showing the 1899 update where Barraud has repainted
the Phonograph as a Berliner Gramophone.