Posted 2 months ago ago
Nipper, the dog who features in the HMV logo is recognised by music lovers across the world.
The iconic logo featuring a phonograph and a pooch staring at it has featured on hundreds of millions of records.
As the High Street powerhouse is set to celebrate its 100th birthday on July 21 with new store openings and an in-store Ed Sheeran gig, we wanted to share the origin story linked to the familiar dog.
His Master’s Voice’s (HMV) distinctive pink branding and dog logo have become key parts of the retail landscape nowadays but the familiar canine image connects Merseyside to the very start of the chain’s story.
The painting on which the logo was based on was from the work of Liverpool artist Francis James Barraud.
Barraud owned a photography shop in Bold Street and had inherited a bunch of his brother’s things when he passed away including a phonograph player, recordings of his brother Mark’s voice, and Mark’s Jack Russell, Nipper.
Francis observed that when he played the records, Nipper would run over to the phonograph, puzzled, as to make out where the voice came from.
Noticing how amazed Nipper appeared, Barraud captured the moment on camera.
After Nipper sadly passed, he painted the picture, which would then go on to be used by the Gramophone Company, RCA Records and HMV.
At first he failed to sell the painting as record companies struggled to find the connection between a confused dog listening to a gramophone and a music label.
Although Barraud died in 1924, he lived to see his work grace the first ever HMV store, opened in London by Edward Elgar in 1921.
The Gramophone Company was the first to purchase the painting for £100.
Eight years later, the company decided to change their name to HMV to match their logo.
Nipper was immortalised with his own blue plaque in London in November 2014 by the British Plague Trust.