Anna Orzelska holding a Pug
Painted by Antoine Pesne in 1730
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Meissen and Derby Pug figurines © Doyle New York, Auctioneers and Appraisers; Pug painting © William Secord Gallery
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One of the earliest known representations of a pug in the Western World is a little fawn pug in a French painting by Nicolas de Largillière and entitled "Louis XIV and His Heirs", painted around 1710. A painting entitled " Un Carlin" and commissioned by Louis XV in 1730 was one of the first works in Europe to have a pug as the main subject.
In the same year, the French painter Antoine Mesne painted Countess Anna Karolina Orzelska holding her Pug.
"La Marquesa de Pontejos"
painting with a pug by Goya
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Louis XIV and his heirs
Painting by Largillière, 1710-1715
Location: Wallace Collection, London
English porcelain factories like the Chelsea, Bow, Chelsea-Derby, Derby, Royal Worcester and Longton Hall factories followed in Meissen's footsteps. They introduced a pug called Trump, named after William Hogarth's famous pug depicted in his 1745 self-portrait, ''The Painter and His Pug.'' The only French factory to have made Pug models seems to have been St. Cloud.
In paintings and engravings of the 18th and 19th centuries pugs usually appear with longer legs and noses and cropped ears. The ears were not just cropped, but often entirely cut off. Cutting off the ears was supposed to improve the dog's expression while deepening the facial wrinkles.
Painting of a Pug of the 1800s
Pugs of that period were usually much taller, with cropped ears and a much more discernible muzzle. The collar with a miniature padlock is also typical of that period
The Painter and his Pug
Portrait by William Hogarth, 1745
Collection The Tate Gallery, London
An entire series of porcelain pug figurines, created by the German sculptor, Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775), Modelmeister of the famous Meissen porcelain factory in Germany, served as a secret emblem for a German underground Freemason lodge.
Kaendler is believed to have based his pug figurines on a pug owned by the Countess von Brühl, wife of the Director of the Meissen factory who was also minister at the court of Augustus III of Hanover. They were copied by the Chinese from about 1750 with the earliest examples representing black pugs with small eyes and cropped ears as was the custom at that time. Another German factory of the period which made Pugs was that of Frankenthal.
Pair of Meissen Porcelain Pug Dogs
Modeled by J.J. Kaendler and P. Renicke,
Courtesy of Doyle New York,
Auctioneers and Appraisers
The 'modern' Pug look probably appeared after 1860 when a new wave of pugs were imported from China. These pugs had shorter legs and the now-familiar "pug nose". Ear-cropping was not outlawed until 1895.
Pair of Derby Porcelain Pug Dogs, circa 1800
Courtesy of Doyle New York, Auctioneers and Appraisers
In his portrait of the Marquesa de Pontejos of 1786, the Spanish painter Francisco Goya represented a fawn pug in the foreground.
Founded in 1740, the lodge was know as the Mopsorden ("Lodge of the Order of the Pug" also known as the Society of Mopses) and was one of the first female (androgynous) orders of freemasonry. The Lady members chose the pug as a symbol of loyalty, dependability and everlasting commitment and soon gained the sobriquet of "mopses" (literally: pugs).