A measure for dogs: the ultimate photo collection

Between 1966 and 2008, Libby Hall collected old photos of dogs and gathered many thousands to compile what is possibly the greatest number of dog pictures ever collected from a single person. The collection – between 1850 and 1940 – was later reduced to its present size of approximately 900 photographs, which consisted of the dog photos used in her five books, including Prince and others; Postcard dogs; and these were our dogs (published by Bloomsbury). Hall most recently published her autobiography, A Measure of Dogs (available from Blurb).

“My husband Tony and I always went to Kingsland Waste, where we had a friend who did house clearance. At that time they sold old photo albums and threw the pictures away. So I rescued her and started sorting the dogs – because I’ve always liked dogs – and it became a collection. Then I started really collecting, looking for them at auto boot sales and auctions. And finally, a publisher offered me a £ two thousand advance payment on a book, which was fantastic, and when each of my books was published, I just used the royalties to buy more and more photos. I had a network of dealers looking for things for me and sending me pictures for approval. Most of them were from the nineteenth century and I only collected until 1940 because I didn’t want to invade anyone’s privacy. Nobody was interested until my first book was published in 2000, and after that people said I shot myself in the foot because everyone started collecting them and they got very expensive, but by then I had between five thousand and six thousand photos of dogs.

It is important to me that others see them. I never made any money on my books because I spent everything buying more photos. “


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