Monday 18th May 2020 is International Museum Day! Did you know that Leeds Castle is home to a unique collection of historic and fascinating dog collars which has been built up over the years
and is now the largest museum of its kind anywhere in the world?
There are over 130 rare and historic collars within the collection. The earliest dates back to the late 15th century and is a Spanish iron herd mastiff’s collar, which would have been worn for protection against wolves and bears roaming Europe at the time.
Other collars range from sixteenth-century German iron collars with fearsome spikes and ornate gilt collars of the Baroque period, through to finely-chased nineteenth century silver collars and twentieth century examples fashioned from tyres, beads and plastic.
In 1977 Mrs Gertrude Hunt presented the collection of dog collars to the Leeds Castle Foundation in memory of her husband, the historian John Hunt. Mr and Mrs Hunt were both avid collectors and amassed a large collection of art and antiquities, but the dog collars were Mrs Hunt’s particular passion.
Her donation consisted of more than 60 collars from all corners of Europe, dating from the 16th to the 19th century. Since that original gift, many more collars have been acquired by purchase and donation from members of the public and the collection continues to grow.