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.

January 20, 2016

January 20, 1900

John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 to January 20, 1900) the leading Victorian art critic, whose taste, while displaying the weakness of that era (I think of what is called sentimentality) also displayed the generosity and tenderness in Ruskin's nature. These features, if typical of his time, had the virtue of authenticity. The case in point is his observations about a painting by Horatio Henry Couldery (1832–1918)

The title of this cat painting is "A Fascinating Tail."  It is easier to see in this high-res copy but that tail, is  of a rodent in a trap. Ruskin's sample is less sentimental than I thought at first.

We learn here that :

In 1875...[Couldery] attracted the attention of the art critic John Ruskin who commented that one of his paintings entitled ’ A Fascinating Tail’ exhibited at The Royal Academy was “ quite the most skilful piece of minute and Dureresque painting in the exhibition, which could not be rightly seen without a lens and unsurpassable in its depiction of kitten meditation"

More of these kittens can be seen here though we don't know Ruskin ever saw Couldery's  other art. He probably did: Couldery exhibited at least twenty paintings at the Royal Academy.

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