Book review by Dee Dee Andersson
This heirloom quality book is a rare gem that the Newfoundland fanciers will undoubtedly cherish. A gentle and kindly creature, this bear-like Newfoundland dog certainly deserved a book worthy of its magnificence and The Newfoundland Heritage and Art by Nick Waters does not disappoint. A book of this caliber has no expiration dated, although it may eventually go out of print, it will never become outdated. In fact, it will become more coveted and honored over time. I predict owners of this book will savor it, recognizing and preserving it for the wonderful treasure it is, passing it along to future generations of Newfoundland devotees.
Nick Waters and Bas Bosch have produced a remarkable living record of the Newfoundland’s history. The photography included in this book is simply astonishing, so many beautiful photographs. The breed history is depicted through art, supported by incredible photographs of sculptures, statues, china, porcelain, bronze, pottery, wood carvings, copper carvings, mosaics and much more, and a thoughtful description of the photography emphasizes the circumstances surrounding the art. One cannot help but appreciate and be impressed by the time and effort that went into gathering the information for this book.
It begins with a lengthy and informative history surrounding A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society, a famous painting known the world over that was produced by the illustrious artist, Sir Edwin Landseer. In 1836, Landseer’s painting was displayed at the Royal Academy exhibition. A portrait of a magnificent white and black Newfoundland, the painting was willed by Newman Smith to his wife and, at her passing, with specific public display stipulations, it moved on in 1887 to its permanent home, the National Gallery in Britain. Distinguished Member, overlooked and left to the ravages of time, was eventually rescued by the grace of Ron Pemberton and restored by funding from The Newfoundland Club of America and other generous sponsors who raised in excess of £11,000 for that purpose. The Newfoundland Heritage and Art pays special tribute to the tremendous influence Distinguished Member had over the years by including photographs of many art variations and copies of the painting. The portrait was so powerful that in time the white and black variety of the breed would become known as the Landseer Newfoundland.
It is not possible to mention every impressive picture contained in this book, the photography is affecting, outstanding, and tells the long and rich story of the breed. Photographs demonstrate the depth of the Newfoundland in all the aspects of its close association with humans over the years, and always there is an underlying theme of man and child being rescued by the Newfoundland dog. One of my favorite representations of the Newfoundland in art would have to be the monuments of Lewis, Clark, York, Sacajawea, Jean Baptiste and Seaman, the dog. “The focal point in the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Park in Madison County is a bronze statue of Sacajawea, her son and Seaman and there are five bronze statues, plus Seaman, at Fort Atkinson’s visitor centre. These depict the first meeting with the American Indians.”
Chapter after chapter of privately owned collections of the Newfoundland in art are photographically highlighted in this keepsake book and despite the myriad contributors, the book has a constant goal. Every single section underscores the popularity of the Newfoundland over the ages, every chapter defines the nature of the animal, the loving creature, the noble spirit, the lasting benevolence of the generous character and throughout all this the Newfoundland is consistently honored by man through art. The Newfoundland history comes alive because of the extensive collection presented in this one volume.
Newfoundland enthusiasts will surely love The Newfoundland Heritage and Art.