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Louis Wain

(1860 London - 1939 Hertfordshire)

Wain postcard # 1Wain is best known for his anthropomorphic large-eyed cats and kittens. The first of six children, and born with a cleft lip, he was kept 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 artist, painting commissioned portraits for country estates and livestock shows.  

At 23, he married his sister's governess, Emily Richardson, (scandalously 10 years his senior) and moved with her to north London.  She succumbed to cancer only three years 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 published works, known as "Louis Wain Cats."  Over the next thirty years, he remained a prolific artist, illustrating about a hundred children's books and providing drawing for magazines and postcards.  A victim of schizophrenia, he spent the final 15 years of his life in a comfortable asylum - drawing cats.

Wain postcard # 2

Wain postcard # 3  

Wain postcard # 4

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