Last Supper

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Illustrator and children’s author Joy FitzSimmons shares her appetite for art and all things canine

What is a more wonderful sound to a dog than the clink of the dinner bowl? It is the dinner the gong equivalent. A sign of good things to come. We enforce home comforts on them. Teach them life from the supermarket basket. Speaking as an urban dweller with a lounge lizard dog who gets his dinner out of a tin, it is still a delight to see him resort to hunter type in our local park when he chases after the humblest grey squirrel with such conviction. Potential dinner. As if! All dogs live to eat. But still the memory of the thrill of hunting down one’s dinner lives on. Something to celebrate at the end of the day and get together with your chums. And eat. And start with Soup. Realistically dogs don’t get together at all to eat. They just bolt down their own and ideally a bit of someone else’s….

A Dog’s Guide to Art is a collection of my parodies of putting a dog into a well-loved work of Art. It is in homage to greater beings than myself but gives another meaning to their work.  I redraw all the paintings digitally and discover so much more in them in the process. With my own dachshunds Ned and Henry as guides, A Dog’s Guide To Art takes the reader on an energetic romp through the world of art, encountering famous paintings and sculptures from a four-legged perspective. They lead their gang of hounds – including schnauzers, Jack Russells, greyhounds, border terriers, labradors and more – on an eventful trip through the gallery, taking in modernist masterpieces and much-loved Old Masters.

On their way they encounter Whistler’s Mother, Picasso’s The Dream, Matisse’s The Fall of Icarus and a Dachshund Pollock – all culminating in Dachshund Condensed Squirrel Soup, as Warhol never knew it! From Rousseau to Riley, Hokusai to Hockney, my canine homage takes us across the globe from the Tate to the Prado to MoMA, to the British Museum and beyond. I hope their joyous adventures will end up in this year’s Christmas stockings too.


A Dog’s Guide to Art (Pavilion Books £9.99):

Joy FitzSimmons studied Illustration & Graphics at Liverpool Art School in the early 1970s, after which she moved to London and followed a freelance career in publishing, working as a book designer and illustrator for 25 years. Since gaining two dachshunds, she formed London Pooch, a design company producing cards, prints and gifts. Joy’s designs have been bought by the British Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Baltic Mill, Fortnum & Mason and Liberty. #ADogsGuideToArt