This is Benny. Benny is a French Bulldog.
I know, I know, coming over here, muscling in on that particular brand of fugly beauty* that the English bulldogs thought they had all to themselves, not to mention the pugs. Anyhow – Benny was my first French bulldog, and I think there is a little corner of my English heart that will forever be given over to him.
My favourite photo is the top one, where he seems to be trying to climb through the screen into my lap. I wish he would.
Well, as with those heavenly pugs (Ernie and Brian), Benny was a dream to draw.Inevitably, I managed to flick a drop of ink on him when I had all but finished inking him in, but I think it might even add to his beauty. It gives him a sort of rakish charm, somewhere between a pirate’s eye patch, and an Eighteenth Century beauty spot.
Happy as I was thus far, I suddenly drew up short. I had chosen a beautiful piece of Liberty print for the body – a subtle brown on brown version of the Strawberry Thief, that would be mostly covered up by the stitching, so ultimately pointless, but beautiful meanwhile – and had set off, picking out those deep grained character lines on his face in black. And then I paused. Had I got that right – a brown dog, with black highlights, or was he, in fact, a black dog, with brown highlights. I had another look:
And another. And another. And at this point, I fell down that rabbit hole that is how do we perceive colour?
It is a hole that opens up between my husband and I every time he mentions my brown bag, the brown bag that is, self-evidently, blue (if blue by way of a warmish grey). The rabbit hole even swallowed whole the internet at one point with that dress, the one that may or may not have been blue, or black, but that was certainly ubiquitous for a period, and even made its way onto Radio 4 – my point of entry for ‘popular’ culture. I vaguely remember trying to look it up one day, and finding a picture of a dress what was so uncontrovertibly whichever colour I could see, that I got bored within seconds. Because of course we can ever only see things the way we see things. So does it really matter if the bag is blue to me, and brown to another? (Obviously, within a domestic setting, it matters enormously, and I am right, and it is blue. I’ll leave the rest to the philosophers).
The puzzle of Benny, however, was a real and pressing one. I faltered, doubted, and set off again in black:
And here he is.
At the end of the day, I don’t suppose it matters which way round I went. What does anything matter when you have a silhouette like Benny’s, with those ears, and those eyes. He would look beautiful sewn out of a paper bag!
[*I believe the term fugly is derived, portmanteau style, from combining the words ‘fairly’ and ‘ugly’. Why, what else could it be? To the pure, all things are pure.]
If you have a beauty on your hands, canine or otherwise, who deserves the eternal fame that embroidery might well provide – do hop on over to the Commission Page, and drop us a line.