The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 11, 2013

September 11, 1906

Eileen Mayo (September 11, 1906 to January 4, 1994) was a popular English artist whose work had an international appeal. Below we see some Australian stamps, issued between 1960 and 1964. They are engraved from Mayo's designs. She worked in a broad variety of media. The middle stamps on the first row below is described as a tiger cat.

In 1936 Mayo married a medical doctor, Richard Gainsborough. She was by then an established artist and even during the war, while helping her husband in his Sussex practice, her art production continued. In 1944 a book she wrote and illustrated, , The Story of Living Things and their Evolution, appeared. In 1948 she designed for her husband's magazine (he was retired by then) Art News and Review. They divorced in 1952 and she left England, and made a new home in Australia, and New Zealand, where she had family.

Eileen Mayo valued a naturalistic accuracy. Her cat pictures are amazing and also they often blend into an abstract edge. Some are below:


Here is an illustration she did for a poem by T. S. Eliot

'How to Ad-dress a Cat'   Cats vs. Dogs: A poem by T. S. Eliot, with stunning vintage illustrations by Dame Eileen Mayo | Brain Pickings

The poem is from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and we see the poet addressing a cat in her illustration. 

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