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Captain Lucas and His Ilmer Sealyhams

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250 – August, 2016

By Debra Lampert-Rudman

I’ve had a secret love affair with the Sealyham Terrier for a very long time. And, recently, a nearly 100 year old, very rarely seen book filled with adventurous hunts through dreamy countrysides filled with elegant participants from early 20th Century Britain’s “Who’s Who”, led by “The Lad”: dashing Captain J. Lucas, M.C., his friends, and his spritely Ilmer Sealyhams, has fanned the flames of my romance.

No, I don’t own a Sealyham Terrier but always try to watch them at all breed shows. The Sealy has become one of those “someday I will own one” breeds for me. I have been in Cocker Spaniels for many years and basically believed parti-color Cocker Spaniels and Sealyham Terriers couldn’t be more dissimilar and love them both for different reasons.

I recently inherited a very large number of very old breed books from William Secord, the dog art gallery owner. Imagine my delight when I discovered Capt. J. Lucas, M.C.’s The Sealyham Terrier book revealed that, like Spaniels, Sealyham Terriers were the darlings of Sporting Society. Add in a delightful peek inside the 1920s aristocratic world of Captain Lucas and his breeder friends, and an enchanting escapade awaited.

My inherited copy isn’t just any old used book – it is a 1922 first edition with an inked inscription – “May Howlett Xmas 1926” – and a yellowed, typewritten note inside from the office of “Exclusively Dogs” (I assume this is the shop where it was originally purchased, used, many years ago).

The note reveals that the author was, to be precise, Captain Sir Jocelyn Lucas, M.C. Bart, KBE, Member of The Kennel Club, Member of Special Committees; a Baronet and recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The cover page reveals that Captain Lucas was more commonly called “The Lad” and even if the following page photo of the author with Sealyhams in Holland weren’t exceedingly charming (note he’s wearing a sporting cap, holding five Sealys, a team including “Champion Belle of Cerne” and Champion Farncombe Chicory”, with a newspaper under his arm) I was already certain there were going to be exciting adventures afoot.

Click here to read the complete article
250 – August, 2016

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