Virtual Art Exhibit Dedicated to Nipper
By Doug Boilesen, 2007*
is a gallery featuring artwork related to Nipper, the Terrier
that was the trademark for the Victor Talking Machine Company
and its later RCA incarnation. The original painting of this
part Bull Terrier, part Fox Terrier dog listening to an Edison
Bell Phonograph was rejected by Edison's British company, but
Nipper did get a new machine to listen to in a revised painting
which would become one of the most recognized product images
in the history of advertising.
An early Nipper
advertisement was noted in a November
1901 "letter to the editor" of the Edison trade
magazine The Phonogram with the writer pointing out that
this was essentially product misrepresentation since the dog
couldn't be listening to "His Masters' Voice" because,
unlike the Phonograph, owners of the gramophone couldn't make
records on their talking machines.
The rest, of course, is history
as the disc record became the dominant format, the Victor Talking
Machine Company became the largest phonograph company in the
world, and Nipper became an icon inspiring
cartoons, parodies and other derivitive creations for over a
Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph (Original)
Francis Barraud, 1898
Oil on canvas, 36" x 28"
The original painting by Francis Barraud displayed an Edison
Bell Phonograph as the featured talking machine.
Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph (revised with gramophone)
of Francis Barraud, 1898.
Barraud revised his Phonograph painting with what was to become
known as "His Master's Voice"
Leonard Petts, author of the Story
of Nipper and the 'His Master's Voice' picture (published
for The Talking Machine Review International, 1973), quotes
Alfred Clark (Managing Director of the Gramophone Company in
1935) as follows: "He (Francis Barraud) took it to a company
then prominent in the sale of wax cylinder phonographs, to see
whether they were interested enough to acquire it. They did
not seem at all impressed by the originality and beauty of the
picture, but asked for more time to think it over."
Barraud replaced the cylinder
machine (an Edison commercial model) with a brass horn and a
talking machine supplied by The Gramophone Company. Johnson's
company then purchased the updated picture.
Moorestown, New Jersey Nipper's, Roots of Nipper
Margaret Ingersoll, c. 2005
Paint on fiberglass
on this Nipper to see the entire Nipper Moorestown
courtesy of Nipper 2005
The 14-foot stained-glass window,
one of four originally in the tower of the Victor Company’s
headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, on display in the Ray
Dolby Gateway to Culture Wing at the Smithsonian's National
Museum of American History. (Courtesy
of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and
A Nipper Sighting
- Walking down a Luzem,
Switzerland street in 2006, Doug Fink, a Friend of the
Phonograph, photographed this painting of Nipper.
Nipper in Gold,
1904 St. Louis Exposition, The Booklovers Magazine,
Cover of The
Talking Machine World, February 15, 1916
Nipper and His
Master's Voice design "is familiar to more Americans
than any of the world's great masterpieces."
Flatwater Folk Art Museum, Brownville, NE
"Little Nipper" Point
of Sale Display for RCA Victor 45 RPM record player and "Little
Nipper" Record Albums, 1949 (PM-1975)
Point of Sale Display (PM-1975)
Recorded Sighting of the Big Nipper
Sheila O'Hara, Oakland, CA, 1987
Woven tapestry, 32.5" x 19.5"
Private Collection (FP1034)
Color postcard, Berlin, 4 1/4" x 5 3/4"
Anne van Wijk, Amsterdam, 1988
color postcard, 4 1/2" x 5 3/4"
Master's Voice - You are the Girl for Me
Postcard, circa 1912 (?)
Master's Voice (with Apologies)
Tom Brown, Publisher: Davidson Bros., postcard 1909 (PM-0422)
Comic Header from "And Her
Name Was Maud!" by Fred Opper
Comic Supplement of the Boston
American, July 9, 1905 by the American Journal-Examiner
(Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics)
1908 Campaign Button
- Bryan vs. Taft (Courtesy Heritage
A.E. Kennedy, postcard (PM-0501)
Master's Voice - Back cover of Consolidated Talking Machine
Francis Barraud, c.1901
Embossed color paper, 4" x 6", 38 pages
cover of Consolidated Talking Machine Co. catalogue
of His Master's Voice at the South Pole
Antartica Expedition replaced the fox terrier with a husky
listening to "His Master's Voice."
Unknown, c.1920, needle tin, HMV
imitation with chicken replacing Nipper
Success Sausage Machine
Unknown, 1908, Postcard
Temperance and Prohibition,
His Master's Voice, 1904 (Courtesy of Ohio
State University) (from Prohibition Cartoons by D.F. Stewart
and H.W. Wilbur, Defender Publishing Company, 1904
His Master's Voice
- William Jennings Bryan running again in 1908 (PM-2109)
His Master's Voice - Radio, Judge,
Title: His Master's Voice
Publisher: Schnabel Cliche
Illustrator: Lawson Wood
(Clarence Lawson Wood was born in Highgate, London in
Cartoon by Chon Day
from The New Yorker, 1954
to the Boob Tube - May 15, 1970 Life magazine
Ink on Paper
Ink on Paper (newspaper cartoon)
Master's Visage, Stereo Review, October 1978
Tunes" by Clarence Brown, Saturday Review, August
(This illustration accompanies
an article about an LP available from Syntonics of a "Country
Thunderstorm" and an "Alpine Blizzard" which
dry off your brow as you listen to them patter and sough coolly
in the background." (4)
The Ghost of Budapest Bygone" Record review by Alan Rich,
New York magazine, October 22, 1979
cat takes the place of Nipper in this postcard that depicts
a cat waiting to hear something (instead of Nipper listening
to his master's voice). The
card also features two double-meaning phonograph related phrases:
you've 'broken the record" and "I'm winding up"
and Ernest by
Bob Thaves, 9-3-1988 - Newspaper
Master's Voice Mail by
Mike Peters, 11-13-1993 -
Master's Voice and Company
Captain Robert Falcon Scott, c.1901 (Courtesy:
Master's Voice," ©Michael Sowa
Hillary B. Price, November 23, 2003
Master's Vice, Artist:
postcard is one of many Nipper parodies that removed the "o"
in "Voice," to create "His Master's Vice."
Many of these
cards featured Nipper and the whiskey bottle. This card actually
depicts multiple vices. But
since Nipper represented the "World's Greatest Music,"
isn't it natural that these other vices would join Nipper to complete
the trilogy of "Wine, Women and Song?"
Management for Photographers
Unknown, c. 2005,
dog watches and listens to music on a computer...the new
master of the 21st century.
shaped like Nipper c.2005
August 22, 2006
to Nipper, listening to an Apple video iPod
Records Go In, CDs Come Out
Stuart Goldenberg, 2006, Newspaper
illustration (New York Times August 17)
2007 Courtesy of Royston Robertson for the cover of Prospect
2008 Courtesy of Royston Robertson
Courtesy of Royston Robertson for the cover of Prospect
June 30, 2009
Courtesy of Royston Robertson
Advertisement reprint on canvas, 8" x 10"
Nipper, June 2016
in Car sticker 4" x 4"
from Kanazawa Phonograph Museum, Ishikawa, Japan - gift
of Peter and Joey Lippett, 2019 (PM-1038)
Dinner by Pete McKee from his
Thud, Crackle, Pop 2016 collection - Print
available for purchase
Apocalypse, Alternate Cover Art
by Megan Hutchison-Cates, 2021 Issue No. 1 (PM-1967)
A Nipper Sighting,
National Neon Sign Museum at The Dalles, Oregon, Friends
of the Phonograph Peter and Joey Lippett spotted Nipper.