Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dog of Flanders

Nello and Patrasche, ?, Spain, 1970's - 80's
A Dog of Flanders is an 1872 novel by English author Marie Louise de la Ramée published with her pseudonym "Ouida". It is about a Flemish boy named Nello and his dog, Patrasche. 

Strangely enough, it was never a cartoon that aired in Belgium, Flanders, or even the rest of the low countries. I first started hearing about it when researching Japanese TV series. Please read more about it here. The story, of English origin, has not been read widely in Belgium, but is becoming better known because of the tourists it attracts to Antwerp. There is a small statue of Nello and Patrasche at the Kapelstraat in the Antwerp suburb of Hoboken, and a commemorative plaque in front of the Antwerp Cathedral donated by Toyota. (yes, the car-maker !) The story is widely read in Japan, and has been adapted into several films and anime, so it is no wonder this figure is so popular over there !

 Click the image to open in full size.

The toy is a plastic version of a sight that was quite often seen in Flanders and the rest of Belgium up to the end of the 19th century : dog-pulled carriages (this toy version has milk bottles, marked "leche de vaca", so definitely Spanish)

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