comic art by Louis Wain 1908

Louis Wain was born in the Clerkenwell district in London and became an artist, selling his sketches of dog shows to the Illustrated Sporting News. He married his youngest sister's governess, Emily Richardson, which caused quite a scandal. Unfortunately, his wife fell ill with breast cancer and died three years later. To entertain her on her sickbed, Louis Wain started drawing their cat, Peter.

Puss in Boots, by Louis Wain 1908

Emily encouraged him to send these drawings to newspapers and magazines, and soon the Louis Wain cat was a household name, not only in Britain but also in America, where his comics and drawings of cats appeared in several newspapers. Louis Wain was elected as President of the National Cat Club and wrote the book 'In Animal Land with Louis Wain' in 1904.

comic art by Louis Wain 1908

After the First World War, the public's interest in cats diminished, and Wain reached a personal crisis, falling into poverty and being affected by schizophrenia when he was 57 years old. In 1924, he was certified insane and admitted to the pauper's wing of a mental hospital in Tooting.

Dutch book, Jan Kater, by Louis Wain

Years later, he was recognized and a fund was set up for him (by prominents such as H.G. Wells), enabling Louis Wain to spent his last years, until his death in 1939, in comfortable asylums in Southwark and Napsbury, where he continued to draw and paint cats.

Louis Wain and Peter

Louis Wain's Catland
More about Wain

Series and books by Louis Wain in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

X

If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.