Pussycats in Art

What is it about cats that so many people down the ages have wanted to capture them on canvas or on film? I always remember my art tutor saying that in olden days if you were painted with a dog you were regarded as a good person but if you were depicted with a cat you were a bit of a wild woman!
If you Google “Cat paintings” you might as well lay in blankets and supplies as you will be looking on screen for a very long time.
One of my favourite cat illustrators is Louis Wain (1860-1939). I liked the fact that he didn’t do chocolate box kitties. I used to have these two large prints on my wall side by side. They were there for years and I swear that each time I looked at them I would find something new in them. I eventually donated them to a cat charity!

Louis Wain cats walking
Louis Wain “The Good Puss” (note mouse skewered on fork!)

Louis Wain cat classroom
Louis Wain “The Naughty Puss”

Slight change of style here. This is “Kip the Enchanted Cat” by Adrienne Ségur (1901-1981).
Cat King
Thinking about it she must have been a contemporary of Louis Wain. I love the idea of being cuddled by a giant pussycat even if it is an enchanted one! This beautiful illustration is from The Golden Book of Fairy Tales originally published in 1958 and eventually reprinted. This is Puss in Boots from the same book.

puss in boots 3
Isn’t he glorious? Adrienne also painted other animals, her attention to detail and the characters she created were just phenomenal.

The pen strokes here are sparse but I like the way Lynton Lamb (1907-1977) uses them to capture the cat’s character.
Cats Tales Lynton Lamb
He’s also famous for producing this charming illustration of The Owl and The Pussycat
Owl and Pussycat Lynton Lamb

And now to bring this small collection of cat art up to date – the incredible work of Fiona Scott. This is her painting entitled “Black Cat”
black pussie
I think this is the only cat painting she has exhibited publicly to date, but I’m going for quality here not quantity. I look at this painting and I swear if I offered it a saucer of milk the cat would come right off the screen towards me, it’s so lifelike! Check out her farm animal paintings – the sheep is adorable!
I wish I could capture my own cats as well as these amazing artists captured theirs. At the moment I’m just capturing my feline images via the camera but with enough practice maybe one day I’ll have a worthy painting to post here.


Linda xxx

1 thought on “Pussycats in Art

Comments are closed.