Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Louis Wain A Cat Compendium

This book is charming and perhaps slightly alarming, too, in a way. Louis Wain's life was filled with poor health of that of his own self as a child (poor health stopped him from going to school until he was 10) and the breast cancer that took the life of his wife at a tragically early age.

To help his wife whilst she was dying over a three year period, Louis bought he a cat, called Peter. and it was Peter who became the inspiration for Louis to paint and draw thousands of cats.

But he didn't merely draw cats in natural settings, though he executed these kinds of drawings. Louis Wain became better known for the fantastical depictions of cats. Cats playing cricket, golfing, boxing, enjoying staging High society parties, hosting dinner parties, playing cards, in fact Louis Wain's cats enjoyed just about every vice and virtue of human society in the Edwardian era in which Louis Wain lived and worked.

Sadly, Louis became mentally ill to the extent that he had to be placed in Bethlehem (aka Bedlam) Mental Hospital for his own good.

Yet the staff encouraged him to continue with his artistic endeavours, which he did. Almost up to his death in 1939.

This book contains many of the illustrations for which Louis Waine was justifiably famed, yet even in some of the earlier drawings of cats we see that their is often a haunted and somewhat manic tint to their visage. Perhaps signs that Louis Wain always had a touch of madness as well as a touch of genius?

But the delightful book is more than a collection of images. It also contains a very useful biographic section on the life of Louis Wain.

It will make an ideal Christmas or Birthday present for the lover of cats, of fans od Louis Wain and also people who are interested in Edwardian history as the book does charmingly parody many of the stratas of Edwardian society that Lous Wain knew so very well.

The book is written/edited by Peter Haining and is published by Peter Owen.

ISBN-10: 0720616379
ISBN-13: 978-0720616378

Catalogue price £11.99 paperback.

It is available through all good local bookshops and via Amazon.

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