The concept of “Cat” shows was still very new in the early 1870’s and truly captured the imagination of Victorian spectators, used to a regular diet of “Naturalist” exhibitions. The media of the day gave such events consistently good coverage, including The Illustrated London News, The Graphic, The Pictorial World, and the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News among others.
This particular image however, does not come from any of the periodicals of the day, but was drawn by Harrison Weir as a record of the Prize winners and used in a later Children’s book publication. It represents one of his best, as he has paid great attention to detail, to both the type and coat texture of the particular exhibits. It includes excellent images of both Black and White Persian cats from this earliest show era, as well as a Blue Shorthair (bottom centre), one of the clearest and detailed images of an early Russian Blue.
Such images are of significance as they assist in putting these events into an historic and social perspective. They are also a valuable eye witness record and a useful snapshot of social commentary at the time.
The Show took place on September 20th, 1873; and was in fact, the fifth National Cat Show at the Crystal Palace. The Judges for this show are recorded as: Mr Harrison Weir, Mr J.Jenner Weir, and Mr P.H.Jones.
Prints are currently available in A4, A3, A2 and a giant A1 sizing option.
Details: 1873 (Sept) – Crystal Palace Cat Show -Prize Cats – (Drawn by Harrison Weir)
Details: 1873 (Sept) – Crystal Palace Cat Show – Prize Cats – (Drawn by Harrison Weir)
Detail: Black Persian Detail: Russian Blue (Archangel Cat)