By the mid to late 1870’s the concept of “Cat shows” was now an accepted and well established fact. They continued to capture the imagination of Victorian spectators, used to a regular diet of “Naturalist” exhibitions. The media of the day continued to give such events consistently good coverage, including The Illustrated London News, The Graphic, The Pictorial World, and the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News among others. Shows had long proliferated to other centres, to Birmingham notably, but also to Ipswich, Wolverhampton, Glasgow, Brighton and Exeter, and other cities; but the Crystal Palace Cat Show retained its prime position as the ‘leading’ cat show in the country.
This particular image comes from the October 25th, 1879 edition of “The Pictorial World”. It was drawn by A.J.Elwes, a noted friend and colleague of Harrison Weir, who was likewise known for his illustrations of small animals for both children’s books and periodicals. These images are also a valuable eye witness record and a useful snapshot of social commentary at the time.
The Show took place in October, 1879. However there is no article accompanying the illustration, to note who the officiating judges were, but it is unlikely that Harrison Weir at least, would not have been among them. In the first 19 years, he was only known to have NOT judged, one single show at The Crystal Palace, and of that we have a definitive record.
Of particular note in this illustration are the images of a Russian Short-hair and Siamese. In this case, the interpretation of their type comes from the pencil of a non-judge, but we are fortunate to have a record of their owners, being Mr J.B.Hall (Russian) and the well known Mrs Cunliffe Lee (Siamese).
Prints are currently available in A4, A3, and A2 sizing options.
Detail: Mr Newton’s “Tweets” Detail: Mr E.Kingston’s “Cat”
Detail: Mr J.B.Hall’s “Russian”cat (Russian Blue) Detail: Mr H.Bowyer’s “Fan”
Detail: Mrs Cunliffe Lee’s “Siamese” Cats Detail: Mr J.Sharman’s “The Doctor”
Detail: Mr A.Bedford’s “Persian” Detail: Miss Knowle’s “Spot”