NIPPER (1884–1895) was a dog from
Bristol , England, who served as
the model for a painting by
Francis Barraud titled "His Master\'s
Voice ". This image was the basis for the dog-and-gramophone
commercial logo , one of the world's most famous used by several audio
recording and associated company brands, including Berliner Gramophone
and its various successors, affiliates, and successors, including
Berliner's German subsidiary
Deutsche Grammophon ; Berliner's American
Victor Talking Machine Co. (later known as
RCA Records ); Victor's Bluebird label;
Berliner's (and later Victor's) British affiliate the Gramophone Co.
Ltd. (informally known as His Master's Voice) and its successors EMI
HMV Retail Ltd. ; the Gramophone Co.'s German subsidiary Electrola
Zonophone ; and onetime Victor subsidiary the Japan Victor Company
* 1 Biography
* 2 Advertising icon
* 4 Legacy
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Nipper was born in 1884 in
Bristol , England, and died in September
1895. He was a mixed-breed dog and probably part Jack Russell Terrier
, although some sources suggest that he was a Smooth
Fox Terrier ,
Bull Terrier ". He was named
Nipper because he would "nip"
the backs of visitors' legs.
Nipper originally lived with his owner, Mark Henry Barraud, in the
Prince's Theatre where Barraud was a scenery designer. When Barraud
died in 1887, his brothers Philip and Francis took care of the dog.
Nipper himself died of natural causes in 1895 and was buried in
Kingston upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames in Clarence Street, in a small park surrounded by
magnolia trees. As time progressed the area was built upon, and a
Lloyds Bank now occupies the site. On the wall of the bank,
just inside the entrance, a brass plaque commemorates the terrier that
lies beneath the building.
On 10 March 2010, a small road near to the dog's resting place in
Kingston upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames was named
Nipper Alley in commemoration of this
In 1898, three years after Nipper's death,
Francis Barraud , his last
owner and brother of his first owner, painted a picture of Nipper
listening intently to a wind-up
Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph .
Edison-Bell Company located in New Jersey, USA, might
find it useful, he presented it to James E. Hough, who promptly said,
"Dogs don't listen to phonographs". On May 31, 1899, Barraud went to
the Maiden Lane offices of The
Gramophone Company with the intention
of borrowing a brass horn to replace the original black horn on the
painting. Manager William Barry Owen suggested that if the artist
replaced the machine with a Berliner disc gramophone , that he would
buy the painting. The image became the successful trademark of the
HMV record labels,
HMV music stores, and the Radio
Corporation of America , after the acquisition of the Victor company
in 1929. The trademark was registered by Berliner for use in the
United States on July 10, 1900. (See His Master\'s Voice for a
complete history of the brands based on Nipper.)
The slogan "His Master\'s Voice ", along with the painting, was sold
Gramophone Company for 100 pounds sterling - 50 pounds for the
copyright and 50 pounds for the painting itself.
Francis Barraud said
: "It is difficult to say how the idea came to me beyond the fact that
it suddenly occurred to me that to have my dog listening to the
phonograph, with an intelligent and rather puzzled expression, and
call it 'His Master's Voice' would make an excellent subject. We had a
phonograph and I often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where
the voice came from. It certainly was the happiest thought I ever
had." The original oil painting hung in the
EMI board room in Hayes,
Middlesex , for many years.
The revised painting substitutes a disc gramophone
Deutsche Grammophon logo on Swedish disc
Victor Talking Machine company ad
Nipper logo introduced in 1977
Nipper stained glass atop the "
Nipper Building ", the former
RCA Building 17 in Camden, New Jersey. This photo, taken from inside
the tower, shows the 2003 replacement of the 1979 replacement of the
1915 original glass
The iconic image of a mixed fox/bull terrier, Nipper, looking into a
phonograph became an international symbol of quality and excellence
Victor Talking Machine Company .
Nipper lives on through the
brand names; he even appeared in ads on television with his "son", a
puppy named Chipper who was added to the
RCA family in 1991. Real
dogs continue to play the roles of
Nipper and Chipper, but Chipper has
to be replaced much more frequently, since his character is a puppy.
Nipper continues to be the mascot of
HMV stores in countries where
the entertainment retailer has the rights to him. Both
RCA Records and
EMI have deemphasized
Nipper in the global music market due to the
fragmented ownership of the trademark.
Victor Company of Japan (
JVC ) also uses the logo within Japan, which
includes the "His Master's Voice" slogan.
A huge, four-ton
Nipper can be seen on the roof of the old RTA
RCA distributor) building now owned by Arnoff Moving this
building, part of the University of
Bristol , stands near the site of
the old Prince's Theatre.
Nipper atop the old
Albany, New York
Albany, New York
Nipper above a doorway of the
Merchant Venturers Building in
A life-size ornament of
Nipper appears in the music video to Cyndi
Lauper 's song "Time After Time ."
Nipper has also been the subject of parodies . One example can be
found on the cover of the 1982 bootleg compilation album Elvis\'
Greatest Shit , a collection of recordings that, in the bootlegger's
opinion, were among the worst that
Elvis Presley made. The album's
putative record company was "
Dog Vomit" instead of
Presley's label during almost all of his career, and its logo featured
a dog resembling