Wild Cats at Play

 

Pam’s Pictorama Post: This illustration hails from The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, February 26, 1881.  I purchased it as a single sheet for one pound sterling in London a number of years ago. I usually wouldn’t be attracted to such a violent image, but it is just so impressively drawn I couldn’t resist. Poor Mr. Rodent thing (woodchuck?) doesn’t have a chance. The cat fangs are very well done (Blackie likes to show his fangs too – luckily mostly when he smiles or yawns, which he does a lot for a cat) and you can almost feel the fluff of the tail.  There’s a latecomer kitten in the upper right corner. Just in time for a meal on the hoof, so to speak. Look at those claw paws!

One has to wonder why something called the Illustrated and Dramatic News would feature this particular illustration, and I have no answer. The articles above the illustration have nothing to do with it. There’s a mention of not very much thoroughbred stock in the market at present and a small piece, The Duke of Edinburgh on Swimming. The weekly paper existed from 1874 until 1945 under that name and continued under subsequent titles until 1970. On the internet I learned that Louis Wain graced the pages on occasion and Oscar Wilde was mocked there.

I purchased a number of things that day, the result of spending several hours happily immersed in the basement of a bookstore in the theater district of London. Most memorably I purchased a number of early film and other magazines for Kim I believe. It would be one of my first stops on a return trip, with the fervent hope it is still there and the boxes in the basement are brimming.

 

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