Do you know HMV is named after a painting called “His Master’s Voice”? With rumours of HMV Hong Kong about to close down, what we are going to miss most is not the records, but the story of Nipper, the dog on its logo which we hope it lives on forever.
Nipper (1884-1895), a mixed-breed dog, was a stray and later adopted by Mark Henry Barraud in Bristol, England. Nipper’s playful tendency to bite the backs of visitors’ legs earned him the name.
After Mark’s death, Mark’s younger brothers, Francis and Philips, took care of Nipper. Francis, an aspiring painter, noticed how Nipper often curiously stared at and listened to his phonograph (the cylinder record player) at home, as the sound coming out from the phonograph was Mark’s voice which was pre-recorded when he was alive. The sweet and entertaining scene was inscribed in Francis’s mind that even three years after Nipper’s death, he decided to paint it on canvas. After a few failed attempts to sell the painting to the Edison-Bell phonograph company and others, he successfully sold it to The Gramophone Company which later formed Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI) and HMV. On the other hand in 1900, Emile Berliner acquired the US rights to the painting and started using it as the trademark for the Victor Talking Machine Company in the US.
Don’t understand the power of love between humans and their dogs!