best known for his anthropomorphic large-eyed cats and kittens.
The first of six children, and born with a cleft lip, he was
out of school until he was ten years old. After a difficult period of
delinquency, he enrolled at the West London School of Art, eventually
joining the faculty for a short period before returning home to support
his mother and sisters. He began working as a freelance
painting commissioned portraits for country estates
At 23, he married his sister's governess,
Richardson, (scandalously 10 years his senior) and moved with her to
north London. She succumbed to cancer only three
later, but during those years Wain engaged Emily's cat to amuse her by
dressing him up in clothing and spectacles, and teaching him tricks.
His sketches of this cat became the start of his later
works, known as "Louis Wain Cats." Over the next thirty
remained a prolific artist, illustrating about a hundred children's
books and providing drawing for magazines and postcards. A
of schizophrenia, he spent the final 15 years of his life in a
comfortable asylum - drawing cats.