British Museum cats

Prints & Drawings

The Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum is one of the top three collections of its kind in the world. There are approximately 50,000 drawings and over two million prints dating from the beginning of the fifteenth century up to the present day. Including, of course, some of cats.

The large cat was made by Dutch printmaker Cornelis Visscher around 1657. It shows a crouching cat at rest; a mouse peers from behind the tail end of the cat.

The Cat concert is a print after Flemish printmaker David Teniers the Younger. It shows cats seated on a table, ‘singing’ to sheet music, and is dated 1635-1690.

Minette was made by French printmaker Élie Dumesnil around 1764. It shows a mother cat suckling her newborn kittens.

This print, by British printmaker Samuel Howitt, is called simply Cat, and shows a cat asleep on a windowsill or shelf. It was published in 1809 in London.

Cat family playing around a stool (Famille de Chats jouant autour d’un tabouret), is a print made between 1799-1850, after Swiss artist Gottfried Mind, an autistic savant who was known by the nickname Katzen-Raffael (The Raphael of Cats).

The three cats (Die drei katzen) was made by German printmaker Johann Adam Klein in 1845.

This print from a wood engraving of a Cat in an armchair was made 1850-1876 by Franz Robert Richard Brend’amour as a book illustration. It also shows a rabbit and a dachshund in costume.

Home sweet home is is an undated watercolour by English artist Louis Wain (1860-1939). Wain’s drawings consistently featured anthropomorphised large-eyed cats and kittens.

Winter, cat on a cushion (L’Hiver, chat sur un coussin) is a colour crayon lithograph made in 1909 by French painter and printmaker Théophile Alexandre Steinlen.

Hungarian-American artist Wanda Gág made this wood-engraving print in 1929. Cats at the window shows three cats watching a bird.

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