Cats in the 19th Century (Part 12-Cats in Literature-Edward Lear’s Foss)

Edward Lear (1812-1888), known for writing The Owl and the Pussy Cat, came from a large family, the 20th of 21 children.   His father had been well off but lost his money in stocks and the family became impoverished.   When he was 15, he started selling sketches to shopkeepers for “bread and cheese”.  Two years later […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 11-Cats in Literature-Charles Dickens)

Even though loved by artists and musicians, cats in literature and poetry found their optimum medium of influence.  Almost all of the great writers and poets from all over the world referred to the feline in their writings.  From Dickens to Kafka, cats were at the sides of the century’s writers and poets. When one […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 10-Cats and Musicians)

Great musicians such as Alexander Borodin, Rimsky Korsakov, Giacchino Rossini (1792-1868)  and Ignacy Paderewski loved the cat too. It seems that cats and musicians were well suited to one another. The great Russian composers Borodin (1833-1887) and Rimsky Korsakov  (1844-1908) were great friends.  Borodin was a well-known cat lover and Rimsky-Korsakov even wrote about Borodin’s […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 9-Cats in Art-Theophile Steinlen)

Probably best known for his posters, the Swiss artist Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923) loved cats. As a young boy, he drew cats in the margins of his books and grew up to live in a house he named, “Cat’s Cottage”.  While living in Paris, his house on the Rue Caulaincourt  became a well-known gathering place for all the […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 8-Cats in Art-Renoir and Rousseau)

The great artists Renoir and Rousseau appreciated cats in art and included our mischievous felines in their paintings as symbols of magic, demons, sexuality and domesticity.  In Renoir’s Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children, the cat is barely visible on her lap. A very close and careful look at this painting reveals deeper images and meanings. There is […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 7-Cats in Art-Louis Wain)

The English artist Louis Wain’s (1860-1939), depictions of cats in art during the Victorian era caused their popularity to rise to a height not known since they were first worshipped as the Goddess Bast.  Wain was the only boy in a household of five sisters where he remained until the age of 23 when he […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 6-Cats in Art)

Over a 100 artists in the 19th century and through the turn of the 20th century chose to capture cats in art not only on canvas but in a myriad of advertisements, greeting cards and sculptures.  For the first time in history the cat would find itself as the primary subject of art with such […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 5 – Famous Cat Lovers)

Not only did 19th century politicians and presidents love cats as discussed in our last post, but there were also many other famous cat lovers of the time. Hiram Bingham (1789-1869), an American missionary who translated the bible into Hawaiian, was devotedly accompanied by his cat Barnabus.   The famous British nurse and humanitarian Florence […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 4 – First Siamese Cat in America)

Inevitably the cat became a subject fawned over by writers and artists, but many statesmen, politicians, and other famous personages came to be known as cat lovers as well.  Abraham Lincoln, the 6th president of the United States agreed to let his son Tad bring his Tabby cat to the White house as its first […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 3 – Cat Ladies)

Not long after the increasing interest in pet ownership began in the 19th century, the first cat ladies became known.  Appearing in children’s literature in such stories as, Dame Wiggins of Lee and Dame Trot and her Comical Cat, cat ladies seemed acceptable and taught children moral and ethical lessons.      However, in reality […]

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