Civic Art

Pillot Dogs

Pillot Dogs

  • Number: 0003
  • Artist: Richardson (As listed in Janes, Kirtland & Co. Illustrated Catalogue, 1870)
  • Title: Pillot Dogs
  • Date: circa 1870
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Cast Iron
  • Dimensions: 49" h x 18 ½"w x 51"d; 300lbs ea.
  • Foundry/Fabricator: Janes, Kirtland & Co. (New York City, NY)
  • Location/Environment: Harris County Heritage Society Sam Houston Park / Outdoors
  • Provenance: Given to the Heritage Society by the River Oaks Garden Club

Historical Background

Subject

Eugene Pillot ordered the two original Pillot Dogs from the Janes, Kirtland & Company's 1870 Illustrated Catalogue (the item number for the sculptures was #84 in that publication). Pillot Dogs was cast in Morrisania, New York, from a model designed by a New York sculptor named Richardson. They were placed on low pylons beside the front steps of the Pillot's home.

The sculptures were later donated to the River Oaks Garden Club. After the Pillot House was acquired by the Heritage Society, the River Oaks Garden Club donated the Pillot Dogs to the Society. It was the Garden Club's hope that the sculptures might once again guard the historic home's entrance.

Today, replicas of the original dogs flank the entryway of the house. The original dogs were at a critical status, with portions of the dogs being visibly cracked and chipped. Del Rey Bronze of Houston recast them in 1989. The original cast iron dogs have been carefully restored and relocated to the Heritage Society Museum.

Physical Description
Pillot Dogs consist of two oversized bronze guard dogs (possibly Golden Retrievers) with taut muscles and heavy-chained collars. Each is placed in a flanking position of the stairway that leads to the porch and front door of the Pillot House. Both dogs have their heads turned towards the stairway, as if to warn anyone who attempts to climb the stairs to be careful. Each dog is placed on a bronze base that has been rendered to depict a natural leaf like surface.

Restoration / Conservation
Due to substantial damage to the original cast iron sculptures, it was decided to have the dogs recast using bronze invested in molds pulled from the original dogs. After the new bronze statues were cast, the original cast iron sculptures were stabilized and restored for placement in the Heritage Museum. They are on display at the museum located at 1100 Bagby.

Click each photo below for full-sized versions

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