Saturday 16 December 2017

"Collectable Limited Editions for your Home"

Louis Wain

Louis Wain

Louis Wain was born on 5th August 1860, the eldest of five children of William Matthew Wain, a textile traveller from Staffordshire and Felicia who was a freelance fabric and carpet designer. Born with a hare lip, Louis Wain was always a sickly child and did not start school until he was ten, by which time he had become a rather solitary child and never really settled into school life. He often played truant, preferring to wander the countryside, exploring and climbing trees. He did however, study at the West London School of Art where he later became an Assistant Master.


Although music was his first choice as a career, Louis Wain played both the violin and the piano, his father became ill and Louis decided to devote his time to art, as he had by now become the breadwinner for the family. They employed a governess, Emily Richardson to look after Louis’ youngest sister. Emily was ten years older than Louis Wain but they fell deeply in love. The family strongly disapproved of their relationship and Louis Wain and Emily took the daring decision to leave the family home and live together. They eventually married on 30th January 1884 without any witnesses.


Louis Wain had kept a linnet as a pet, but he and Emily were soon to have a new addition to the family, Peter, a black and white kitten. Peter became a devoted companion to Emily, who was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer and became bedridden. She did however continue to encourage Louis Wain to draw, but died on 2nd January 1887, before he achieved the success which she believed he deserved. Following her death, he was reunited with his family and moved back to live with them.


Louis Wain became President of the National Cat Club at the age of 30 and was ahead of his time with his views on how owning a cat could benefit people with mental health problems. He also spent 2 years in the United States, where he was just as popular as in England and became involved with the American Cat Fancy.


Louis Wain was a prolific artist, being able to produce a sketch, using either hand in about 45 seconds and he gave many of these away to family and friends, and also to people he owed money to. The First World War, brought rationing and paper shortages and Louis eldest sister died in 1917. The public were preoccupied with the war and being fickle in their tastes, Louis’ popularity declined. After the death of his sister, doubts about his mental stability arose. Always being an eccentric character, this had gone unnoticed, but doubts about his mental stability now surfaced and he began accusing his sisters of robbing him. His mental health gradually deteriorated and on 16th June 1924 he was certified insane and diagnosed schizophrenic. He had mounting debts and was eventually admitted to a pauper ward of a mental institution. He did however continue to paint, but his work now incorporated cats into intricate patterns and bold colours.


Louis Wain was rediscovered in the asylum by a keen admirer, and Ramsey MacDonald, the Prime Minister of the day personally intervened and Louis was transferred to the Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham and later moved to Napsbury Hospital near St.Albans. The hospital had lovely grounds and he spent the rest of his days there in comfort, happily painting and writing about cats. He died of kidney failure and hardening of the arteries on 4th July 1939, a month before his 79th birthday.

Read More

Click on any image to enlarge or purchase

Items 1 to 9 of 11 total

per page
Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2

Grid  List 

Set Ascending Direction

Items 1 to 9 of 11 total

per page
Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2

Grid  List 

Set Ascending Direction