The Kennel Club art gallery leads the way in opening up to four-legged visitors

An exhibition of 30 original prints by photographer Shirley Baker captures the special relationship dogs have with their humans, with man’s best friend is invited too

A unique exhibition: For the Love of Dog/Pour l’amour du Chien, showcasing the work of renowned photographer Shirley Baker, has opened today (4 November) at The Kennel Club Gallery in London, with doors open for both human and dogs. The Kennel Club Gallery is the only art institution in central London, and one of few in the UK, which welcomes canine visitors alongside their owners.

The exhibition combines photographs taken by Shirley in the UK and her second home in France, including pictures of dogs in everyday settings, as well as at dog shows, providing an insight to her affection and admiration for man’s best friend. 29 black and white prints, one colour print, and a duo of Shirley’s personal cameras are on display.

True to both the photographer’s and The Kennel Club’s ethos, the exhibition is one of very few to welcome dogs, giving owners who happen to be art enthusiasts a unique opportunity to share the experience with their four-legged friend. Recent research by The Kennel Club as part of its Open for Dogs campaign highlights the need for more dog-friendly places in the UK, with more than a quarter (27%) of owners saying not enough places are dog friendly, making it hard to spend quality free time with pets, and a third (33%) saying they’d like more public spaces to be open for dogs.

Heidi Hudson, curator of photographic collections at The Kennel Club said: “The exhibition highlights, through photographic spontaneity, the honest relationship between people and dogs and bridges the gap between Northern England and the South of France where Baker lived and kept an eye out for the unusual in the usual. Her work captured everyday people doing ordinary things and there was often a dog to be found in her pictures.

“We are so pleased to present Shirley Baker’s dog photographs in The Kennel Club Gallery as her work resonates with all dog lovers.”

Born in 1932 in Salford, Shirley Baker took up photography at the age of eight. She is best known for her street photography, and her photographs offer a unique window into different parts of British society in transitional period after the Second World War and throughout the following decades. Her work was regularly displayed at the Print Room of the Photographers’ Gallery, London.

Open for all dog lovers from 4 November until 1 April 2022 at The Kennel Club Gallery in Mayfair, the exhibition is open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and is free to view. Groups of six or more interested in private viewing or viewing outside of business hours can be arranged.

To book your visit, please email artgallery@thekennelclub.org.uk or call 0207 518 1064.

Exhibition©-Estate of Shirley Baker Mary Evans Picture Library