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.

February 25, 2016

February 25, 1884

William Huggins ((May 13, 1820 to February 25,  1884) has been labeled the best Victorian artist of animals. This is a debatable label but I think we can reject the Victorian part.Here is an example of his work:

This I believe is a cat and a recently killed chicken. This theme of cats in the kitchen is a very old trope. The artist was fond of chickens and his home was described as full of animals.

Here we learn something of the man:

His death was reported in several newspapers the main one being the Liverpool Mercury where he was described as being “a great connoisseur of china, Chelsea, Derby and other ware, and old glass; was an amateur musician, playing on the guitar to accompany his voice. In appearance, he was described by one who knew him well as having a head and countenance not unlike one of his own lions. In society he was very retiring and somewhat eccentric in his ways.” ....

Other descriptions of the artist include Albert Nicholson and the Reverend Mark Pottle who say “Huggins had unusually long hair and dressed somewhat shabbily. He was of less than average height, with a florid complexion, but good-natured and helped friends who were in financial straits, despite often facing difficulties himself. But he could also be shy and prickly.”....

And according to Rupert Maas “Huggins was an eccentric individual. He preferred the company of animals, especially chickens, than of his fellow men. He hated travelling through tunnels, and so would get off the train before Liverpool and walk the rest of the way home “...

And  another of his cats:

I can't find out much about his wife but here is her portrait he did:

The greatness of William Huggins has not been publicized enough.

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