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WHITE FRIAR (1894)          




Crystal is a most enigmatic cat with an unparalleled public profile for her era. She was also a standard-bearer for pedigreed felines used in advertising. She is one of the most photographed of the early cats, with numerous postcard images extant in collections, and her image variously used to promote a range of products. In an age when copyright, although promoted, was seldom able to be enforced, her images were subsequently scattered across Europe, with uncompromising promiscuity by printers and traders in postcards.


Bred by Mr A Gearn, this blue-eyed beauty was born on April 10th, 1898, (NCC: Regn 3004), sired by a Blue Persian male, Ch.Blue Jacket (Born 1894, NCC: Regn.2009) and out of a White Persian female, Lilywhite. (or Lily White)    (Insert Link to Pedigree or a visual to a small pedigree)

Crystal was bought my Miss Mary Hunt, when she was exhibited as a kitten at the Crystal Palace Show of that year. From Frances Simpson’s ‘The Book of the Cat’ we have Miss Hunt’s own description of the purchase, (as at 1903).

“I bought Crystal in 1898, when only four months old and she certainly has been a good investment. Out of the sixteen white kittens she has had, ten of them have been blue-eyed.” *  The NCC studbook under the registration details for Crystal, records her wins at the Crystal Palace in 1898, winning both a 1st and a 3rd.

Photo: from an article by Louis Wain, in Windsor Magazine, 1899. Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

Miss Hunt goes on to say of Crystal’s winning ways: “Crystal herself has only once been beaten by a white cat,and that had not even blue eyes; but she was in splendid coat, and Crystal was quite out of coat. Most judges are agreed, I think, that ‘Crystal’ is the best blue-eyed white female in the country.”*


Only two sibings are noted. The first is Scotland’s Prince, a Blue-eyed White male, with same birth date,(NCC: Regn.3007) formerly owned by Miss R.A.Packham, and then by Miss Gertrude Willoughby (later Lady Decies). His name subsequently changed to Fulmer Scotland’s Prince upon his change of ownership. His wins recorded in the NCC Stud Book are listed as 2nd Special, Botanic, 1899; 2nd CP 1899; 2nd Brighton, 1899. A second sibling was Snow King, (no date of birth) but shown as the sire of “Aisha” in the CCR Studbook, with his parentage being identical, by Blue Jacket ex Lilywhite, and his owner/breeder listed as Mr A Gairn. (Possibly a litter brother to Crystal that had been retained by her breeder).

From Mrs Champion, we hear directly about the siblings ‘Scotland’s Prince’ and ‘Crystal’ in an article reprinted from the ‘Cat Review’ in the November 14th 1903 issue of ‘Our Cats’:

“Another instance of breeding from odd-eyed whites was the two beautiful cats, Scotland’s Prince and Crystal. These two were from the same litter, and bred by Mr Gavin of Edinburgh, from his odd-eyed white queen, Lily White, mated to the famous yellow-eyed Ch.Blue Jacket.

Registered Name: WHITE FRIAR
Date of Birth: 1894
Registration: 3008
Registry: National Cat Club (NCC)
Sire: Unknown
Dam: Unknown
Breeder: Unknown
Owner: Mrs Horsfall/Mrs Champion
Breed: Longhair (Persian)
Colour/Pattern: White (Blue-Eyed)
Alternate Name: Tim of Redgrave