BARK­ING MAD?

This England - - Cornucopia -

Eng­land is a na­tion of col­lec­tors and there’s noth­ing we ap­pre­ci­ate more than a fine and un­usual col­lec­tion of items. Stamps, coins, china tea sets, vin­tage toys – and even, it would seem, dog col­lars!

The Dog Col­lar Mu­seum at Leeds Cas­tle in Kent is home to a fas­ci­nat­ing col­lec­tion of ca­nine neck­wear which spans five cen­turies. There are over 150 rare and valu­able col­lars, with the ear­li­est dat­ing back to the 15th cen­tury: a Span­ish iron herd mas­tiff’s col­lar that of­fered pro­tec­tion against wolves and bears roam­ing Europe at the time.

Other col­lars range from 16th-cen­tury Ger­man iron col­lars with fear­some spikes and or­nate gilt col­lars of the Baroque pe­riod, through to fine 19th­cen­tury sil­ver col­lars and 20th-cen­tury ex­am­ples fash­ioned from tyres, beads and plas­tic.

In 1977 Mrs Gertrude Hunt pre­sented the col­lec­tion of dog col­lars to the Leeds Cas­tle Foun­da­tion in mem­ory of her hus­band, the his­to­rian John Hunt.

Mr and Mrs Hunt were both avid col­lec­tors and amassed a large col­lec­tion of art and an­tiq­ui­ties, but the dog col­lars were Mrs Hunt’s par­tic­u­lar pas­sion.

Her do­na­tion con­sisted of more than 60 col­lars from all cor­ners of Europe, dat­ing from the 16th to the 19th cen­tury.

Since that orig­i­nal gift, many more col­lars have been ac­quired by pur­chase and do­na­tion from mem­bers of the pub­lic and the col­lec­tion con­tin­ues to grow!

You’ll find over 150 rare and valu­able dog col­lars at Leeds Cas­tle in Kent.

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