Louis Wain was an English artist best known for his drawings, which often featured anthropomorphised large-eyed cats and kittens. However the scope of work was far wider than this. He was a true artist but combined this with an approach to the rendering of his art in a unique and unprecedented style.
Wain was born on the 5th August 1860, so lived to the good age of 79, passing away on 4th July 1939. His father was a textile trader and embroiderer; his mother was French. He was the first of six children, and the only male child. None of his five sisters ever married.
Wain was born with a cleft lip and the doctor gave his parents the orders that he should not be sent to school or taught until he was ten years old. In his later years he may have suffered from schizophrenia (although this claim is widely disputed among many specialists if this is true or not), which, according to some psychiatrists, can be seen in his works.
As a youth, he was often truant from school, and spent much of his childhood wandering around London. Following this period, Louis studied at the West London School of Art and eventually became a teacher there for a short period.
At the age of 20, Wain was left to support his mother and his five sisters after his father’s death.
Wain soon resigned from his teaching position to become a freelance artist, and in this role he achieved substantial success. He specialized in drawing animals and country scenes, and worked for several journals including the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where he stayed for four years. He also worked for the Illustrated London News from 1886.
Through the 1880s, Wain’s work included detailed illustrations of English country houses and estates, along with livestock he was commissioned to draw at agricultural shows. His work at this time includes a wide variety of animals, and he maintained his ability to draw creatures of all kinds throughout his lifetime. At one point, he hoped to make a living by drawing dog portraits, but he didnt need to …
Wain became one of the most popular commercial illustrators in the history of England. His cats, dogs and other animals captured the imagination of the Edwardian era and his work helped to promote domestic cats to unprecedented heights. Before Wain, cats in England were often thought of with contempt, but his work humanised them and helped to show them as something to be liked, admired and even loved.
His illustrations were so popular that throughout the beginning of the twentieth-century most homes had at least one of his famous cat annuals and many nurseries had Wain posters hanging on their walls. “He made the cat his own” H.G. Wells once remarked. “…he invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world.”At the age of 23, Wain married his sisters’ governess, Emily Richardson, who was ten years his senior (which was considered quite scandalous at the time), and moved with her to Hampstead in north London. Emily soon began to suffer from breast cancer, and died three years into their marriage. Prior to Emily’s death, Wain discovered the subject that would define his career. During her illness, Emily was comforted by their pet cat Peter, a stray black and white kitten they had rescued after hearing him mewing in the rain one night.
Emily’s spirits were greatly lifted by Peter, and Louis began to draw extensive sketches of him, which Emily strongly encouraged him to have published. She died before this happened, but he continued to make cat sketches. He later wrote of Peter, “To him, properly, belongs the foundation of my career, the developments of my initial efforts, and the establishing of my work.” Peter can be recognized in many of Wain’s early published works.
See more of Wains Work here
If you wish to buy an original of Wains work then try the Chris Beetles Gallery
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Wain & other sources./p>
Andean cats are rare and rarely seen. At last count it was reported that only 1,378 adults exist and those are scattered over more than 150,000 square kilometers (roughly 580,000 square miles) of highlands from northeastern Peru to Patagonia. So when Jacobo showed up there were a few puzzled faces in town.
Cat of the Month ~ December 2020
Photograph: © https://news.mongabay.com/
Jacobo was spotted in the middle of a artificial grass football field in Bolivia, and he was far from anywhere that should have been home. Not knowing what else to do, local people put the Endangered cat in a birdcage to hand it over to authorities.
At first glance no bigger than a housecat, this feline had ended up such a distance from its usual haunts, high-up in the mountains of Chile, Argentina and Peru, that it was and still is, a mystery. However, this extraordinary circumstance gave conservationists a chance to learn about an animal they are dedicated to saving, but had rarely seen.
The Andean cat ranges from remote areas of central Peru to the Patagonian steppe. Perfectly adapted to extreme environments, this small feline is though threatened by habitat degradation and hunting.
Jacobo was lucky in that he was given to the Andean Cat Alliance, and instead of being kept captive, the members agreed there and then to forego the extraordinary opportunity to study the animal it had been gifted, and instead, try to return “Jacobo” to the wild.
Cordinators Rocío Palacios and Lilian Villalba orchestrated the multinational volunteer release effort. Jacobo was first examined to reveal no health problems. The conservationists then equipped Jacobo with a GPS collar in the hope that tracking his travels will reveal new data about this particular secretive cat, and others of his kind.
Photograph: © https://news.mongabay.com/
Jacobo was released safe and sound in the Sajama National Park, in Bolivia. After the first few days of tracking his radio signal, he began venturing farther away from the release site.
Read the full story of Jacobo and the Andean Cat Alliance (AGA) on the Mongobay website.
Photograph: © Wildlife Conservation Network (link).
27th October is ‘National Black Cat Day’ in the UK when Cats Protection highlight, in particular, all the beautiful black cats needing adoption. They have hundreds of them in their centres, so we can’t work out why anybody wouldn’t like to have a black cat as a companion…. they’re just like any other cat, and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth.
National Black Cat Day was created way back in 2011, as Cats Protection statistics showed that black cats were taking longer to rehome than other domestics. This situation has gotten a lot better since then, but of course, there is always room for improvement. This special day was thought up so as to highlight the fact that these black moggies are being forgotten by families taking on a new cat. At the same time lots of happy owners celebrate the beauty of their black cats on this special day. That, reader, includes me (little Oscar).
Anyway, what better day to celebrate the happy story of one black cat called Ruby who was reunited with her happy owner just this month, after being missing for two whole years!
Cat of the Month ~ October 2020
Photograph: © Cats Protection
Ruby went missing from her home near Brogborough, close to a major junction and lorry park on the M1 motorway, in April 2018.
About three weeks ago she was found by security guard Leighton Myers on an industrial estate where he works in Coventry. He was feeding Ruby and, with the help of Cat’s Protection, traced her ownership to Jordan Harvey in Bedfordshire, 60 miles away. Mr Harvey drove to Coventry to collect her and Ruby knew him immediately. Just where she was between April 2018 and October 2020 when Mr Myers started feeding her we will never know but she is healthy and happy. Both Ruby and Jordan were over the moon to be re united with each other once again.
If you think that you could give a loving home to a beautiful black cat ( or other) or support in any other way, please have a look at the Cats Protection website below.
Oh, and Happy Black Cat Day one and all.
Hi Folks and Moggies,
Yes it’s me Oscar. As you may know I help Ed with this blog quite a lot, so have been able to pull a few string to get myself on the front page again this month. I reminded Ed that it’s my birthday this week, and I’m 5 Years Old. Ed said “yes I know you silly puss cat” and proceeeded to open my Birthday Card and fetch me a tasty tin of my favourite fish treat.
When he got back I asked him “as it’s my special week can I please, please, be Cat of the month?”. Ed thought for a bit and then said “…mmmm I’m not sure, Osc you’ve already had that honor bestowed upon you and there are so many brave and beautiful cats to choose from out there, I can’t fit em all in”.
Like a lot of countries at the moment, we are all here in Lockdown in England and it’s been a time of reflection for those humans and for us cats too (oh yes, I’ve been chatting with my pals out the back there as we cats are immune to that bat bug so can get up to all kinds of antics). Anyway, I too have been looking back at things, now that I’ve reached the splendid age of five.
When I was adopted from the Rescue Shelter I was a timid thing who would slink around and jump if anyone even came in the room. Four years on I am still a very shy guy but I do walk with a bit more pride and confidence in myself and my own beauty. I still hate the doorbell with a vengeance and run behind the sofa if it goes off, but luckily it has been quiet since March of this year!
I don’t like to admit it but I’m still not good at handling quick movements of humans at all, even when I know they are around. They still catch me by suprise by just coming into the room and I often cower away as I’m taken aback with a bolt of fear…. I think something happened to me as a kitten, but I can’t now recall what it was these days … well after all I am five now, and it was such a long time ago.
Cat of the Month ~ May 2020
Photograph: Ed, who else
I sincerly hope that all those cats out there in Lockdown are OK, and that humans, if at all possible, can continue to contribute to the good work of cat and animal rescue organisations at this time, when they need it more than ever. After all it’s where I came from, and without these places lots of cats would be in the sour milk for sure. I for one wouldn’t be here. I’va asked my mate Ed to put a link in to one of the charities close to my heart below, so if you can spare a few coppers please? … them cats n’ dogs’ll benefit from it, for sure.
Dear readers, I’ve had a lovely birthday week and am feeling particularly magnamimous at the moment “where did you learn a word like that Osc”, Ed so, please take good care of yourselves in this beautiful month of May and, do as we cats do – hunker down in a nice soft patch and let the days and other creatures go by – with the odd break for scran, stalking, hunting, climbing, exploring and generally putting a nose in where it’s sometimes not wanted
Bye for now, I’m off out in that yard to see what’s going down. Yup, I’m a really cool grown up Cat.
Lots of love, Osc xxx
These kind folks looked after me for ages, so if you can spare a copper or two….The Animal House Charity, West Midlands
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on 10th November 1869. Little is recorded of his childhood, but he went on to study at the University of Lausanne before taking a job as a designer trainee at a textile mill in Mulhouse in eastern France.
Steinlen is well-known for being very fond of Cats. He was fascinated by them and drew, painted and sculpted them many times. He tried to capture each subtlety of their poses and movements, and from looking at his works we can see he has achieved his goal.
Moving with his new wife to the Montmartre Quarter of Paris at the age of 21, Steinlen was befriended by the illustrator Adolphe Willette, who introduced him to the avant-garde literary and artistic environment of the Chat Noir cabaret which had been founded not long before.
His house on the Rue Caulaincourt was, according to contemporary accounts, a meeting place for all the cats of the arrondissement. In his early years as an artist, he would sell drawings of cats in exchange for food, and in later years a cat began to be incorporated in many of his drawings, magazine illustrations, lithographs or posters, almost to the point of being his unique personal trade mark.
Steinlens’ talent was spotted by owner of the ‘Chat Noir’ Caberet club, Aristide Bruant and he commissioned Théophile to do poster art and illustrations of its satirical and humorous journal, also called ‘Chat Noir’
Steinlen went on to form artistic collaborations with writers such as Emile Zola, poets such as Jean Richepin, composers such as Paul Delmet, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, all of whom he encountered at Le Chat Noir.
Cat of the Month ~ April 2020
In the early 1890s, Steinlen’s paintings of rural landscapes, flowers, and nudes were being shown at the Salon des Indépendants. Throughout Steinlen’s life Montmartre became a favorite subject of his work and he often painted scenes of some of the harsher aspects of life in the area. Steinlen undoutedly had a great love and admiration for cats of all kinds, as is seen in his paintings, sketches and sculpture. Cats often find thier way into his paintings of street scenes and alongside the characters he saw on the streets of Paris.
Théophile Steinlen died in 1923 in Paris and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre.
Today, his works can be found at many museums around the world including at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.
Cat of the Month ~ February 2020
Photograph: © Tica
With these cold, wet, winter days still upon us we at Moggyblog have turned our attention to a cat that has very little hair or fur and some are even classed as ‘nude.’ How they ever coped with sub-zero Russian winters we can only guess.
The beautiful Peterbald breed was first developed in 1993-4, when (it is said) a Russian breeder named Olga S. Mironova crossed Afinguen Myth, a brown tabby Donskoy, with an Oriental Shorthair female by the name of Radma Vom Jagerhof. At the time their offspring were gaining popularity in St. Petersburg, Russia, and they were quickly pronounced with the new title Peterbald. New breeding lines were created as Peterbalds were consistently bred out to Donskoy, Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese. TICA accepted the Peterbald in 1997 and recognized them for championship status in 2005.
Photograph: © Tica
Although recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) since 1997, the Peterbald is still a relatively rare purebred or pedigreed domestic cat breed. Like the the Don Sphyx, the amount of hair or fur on a Peterbald can vary greatly from cat to cat. There’s even an “Ultrabald” type that doesn’t even have whiskers or eyebrows and they and never grow any hair at all. Then there is Flock or Chamois variety being ninety percent hairless. These cats have a soft silky feel. Other varieties of coat include Velour, Brush coat and Straight coated. However these coats can change significantly throughout their first two years of life, and their hair texture alter as time goes by either by gaining or loosing hair.
The Peterbald took its long and fine-boned, lithe body type and oblong head shape from the Oriental Shorthair. One unique feature about Peterbalds is that they have long front toes with webbing, which allows them to hold and manipulate toys and other items. Their tails are strong and thin with a graceful curl.
The breed are known to be intelligent, very active, friendly and playful, but because they are highly sociable they should always have companions around them, be these human or feline in origin. They can be fine lap cats in spite of their active natures. When venturing outdoors, care must be taken with the hairless Peterbald, as they are sensitive to very hot and cold weather. Sunburn and other skin issues are also potential concerns.
Photograph: © Tica
For keepers of Peterbald cats regular bathing is an important part of the weekly grooming routine. This will prevent the build up of oils on the cats skin, and will also remove daily dirt which may cause irritation. A vets advice should be sought which products to use.
Finally if you are drawn to purchase a beautiful Peterbald cat from a breeder, always investigate any hereditary or genetic conditions by asking about the breeding process. Kittens can also be examined by a vet to provide you with peace of mind before a purchase.
So, like all cat lovers, there is every excuse to stay home and dry and snuggled up with your Peterbald (or any other type of cat, for that matter) this winter and, for the Peterbalds, for the rest of the year too…
Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons
The Spruce Pets Website
https://www.facebook.com/baryshnikova.lyida & Others
We’ve featured these other hairless felines if you’re interested?
Photograph: © http://alienhairlesscat.com/