In 1849, The Hand-Book of Needlework included in their list of available Berlin patterns, a piece designed after the Sir Edwin Landseer painting of Queen Victoria’s favorite dog, Dash (Dash, Hector, Nero, and Lorie). The above needlework pattern is an authentic period design used to make decorative pillows. Dash was Queen Victoria’s much loved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, given to her mother by Sir John Conroy in 1833. Victoria wrote in her diary:
“Just before we went out, Mamma’s little dog, a beautiful spaniel of King Charles’s breed, called Dash, and which Sir John gave her yesterday, came and will now remain here.… Little Dash is perfection, he is already much attached to Mamma and lies always at her feet.”
”Dash, Hector, Nero, and Lorie” by Sir Edwin Landseer. Dash is lying on a velvet covered footstool, surrounded by “Hester,” “Nero,” and “Lorie” the parrot.
During her secluded and quiet childhood at Kensington Palace, this black-and-tan spaniel was her constant companion. Charles Robert Leslie, 19th century royal academician, speaks in his autobiography of Queen Victoria’s coronation day:
“The Queen … is very fond of dogs, and has one very favorite little spaniel, who is always on the lookout for her return when she has been from home. She had of course been separated from him on that day longer than usual, and when the state coach drove up to the steps of the palace, she heard him barking with joy in the hall, and exclaimed, ‘There’s Dash!’ and was in a hurry to lay aside the sceptre and ball she carried in her hands, and take off the crown and robes, to go and wash little Dash.”
At her pet’s death, Victoria had a marble slab placed over his grave in Windsor Park, with a beautifully sculptured representation of a spaniel lying upon a cushion, and bearing the following inscription:
“Here lies Dash, the favorite spaniel of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, who caused this memorial to be erected. He died on the 20th December 1840 in his ninth year. His affection was without selfishness, his playfulness without malice, his friendship without deceit. Reader, if you would live respected and die regretted, profit by the example of Dash.”
Left: 1866 British sampler with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on cushion.
Right: Berlin pattern for slippers with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
An image of Queen Victoria’s Dash, ceremoniously lying upon a cushion, was a popular needlework subject throughout her reign. You can create “royal” decorative pillows, piano stool or footstool cover from an authentic design published in an 1861 lady’s magazine. This needlework pattern can be worked on canvas in the colors shown with the ground filled up with a color to showcase the figures. Start early to create heirloom holiday gifts of decorative pillows. Download decorative pillows pattern here.