Nipper was a real dog born in 1884 in Bristol, England. He died in September 1895.
Three years after Nipper’s death owner Francis Barraud painted a picture of Nipper listening intently to a wind-up gramophone.
Francis Barraud said,
“It is difficult to say how the idea came to me beyond that fact that it suddenly occurred to me that to have my dog listening to the phonograph, with an intelligent and rather puzzled expression, and call it “His Master’s Voice” would make an excellent subject. We had a phonograph and I often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from. It certainly was the happiest thought I ever had.”
A modified version of of the painting became the successful trademark for the RCA Victor record company.
Through the years the image of Nipper and gramophone has appeared on numerous collectibles including the cast iron bank shown above.