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Wednesday, 8 September, 1999, 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
HMV seeks budding Nipper
Nipper first featured in the painting His Master's Voice (1898)
A nationwide search has been launched to find a new Jack Russell to pose as Nipper, the dog who has been used in HMV advertising for nearly a century.

After 10 years in the job the current canine celebrity is retiring and ITV's This Morning series has begun the hunt for a replacement.

Sir Cliff Richard
Meeting stars like Sir Cliff is one of the perks of the job
Through his work the current Nipper has met Sir Cliff Richard, Take That and Harry Enfield and attends about 20 store-openings and events a year.

A spokesman for record company HMV said: "Everybody loves Nipper, you could say he's a British institution, and the HMV dog and trumpet logo is one of the most recognised trademarks in the world."

The current Nipper comes from Warrington, Cheshire and got the job after winning a competition on BBC's That's Life series.

The original Nipper, who hailed from Bristol, rose to fame after being adopted by artist Francis Barraud, when his original owner died.

. Barraud captured Nipper, listening intently to an Edison phonograph, in his 1898 painting His master's Voice.

The painter offered to sell the image to Edison's company.

He was turned down, but the newly formed Gramophone Company bought both the phrase and image on condition that the original phonograph was painted out and substituted with a gramophone and horn.

The firm used the image on everything from needle boxes to promotional novelties, and eventually adopted His Master's Voice as the name of its record label.

Today only the initials HMV are used but items bearing the image have become highly collectible.

The original Nipper painting can be seen at EMI Music's Gloucester Place headquarters in London.

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