In the week that the famous HMV record retailer closed its premises at 150 Oxford Street, these posters have started popping up around London…
… in parody of Nipper, the famous HMV mascot who features in this painting…
…from 1898 by Liverpool-born painter Francis Barraud.
The story goes that Nipper had been found as a stray in 1884 and was adopted by Barraud’s brother Mark. Barraud noticed how the dog would seem perplexed when the cylender phonograph was played, cocking his head to one side as if trying to ascertain how a human voice could emerge from a machine. Inspiration struck and failure came hot on its heels: the Royal Academy rejected the picture, as did a plethora of magazines.
It wasn’t until Barraud approached The Gramophone Company in 1899 that he was able to sell the piece. Even then, The Gramophone Company insisted that he replace the original cylinder phonograph with one of their own patented models. Thus a classic trademark was born.
HMV continues to trade on Oxford Street back at its original home. Their website is HERE.
We’ve got more London Dogs next week (thanks to Fiona in the London Walks office!) and a few cats, too.