Nipper was born in 1884 in Bristol, England. After his master died, he was given to artist Francis Barraud. The dog's fascination with the music produced by the cylinder phonograph, and the thought that he might be listening to the machine in hopes of hearing his master's voice, inspired Barraud to paint Nipper in 1895.
The resulting work, "His Master's Voice," was sold by Barraud to the Gramophone Co., Ltd. It was adapted to advertise the company's phonograph, and later, the painting was purchased by the Victor Talking Machine Co., which purchased RCA in 1929.