An 18th Century Art Catalogue
What I find most interesting about cats in 18th century art is how
weird most of them look. Did domestic cats look different in the 18th
century, or were artists generally just very bad at drawing them? I
suspect it's the latter.
If you are so foolish as to be a dog person, you might be
interested in my page on dogs in 18th
Cats in 18th Century Art
- Chardin, Jean Simeon. Still-Life with Cat and Fish.
French. 1728. On the
Web at the Web
Gallery of Art. Calico, or more likely tortoiseshell with white
- Jean-Étienne Liotard, The Sick Cat, 1731, on
the Web at
the Harvard University Art Museums. White cat with tabby stripes
on the forehead.
- Hogarth, William. The Distressed Poet,
1733–1737, on the Web at Olga's
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and at
Grande Arte. White cat with tabby or black markings on head and
tail, nursing one or two white or grey kittens.
- Badger, Joseph (1708–1765 American). Portrait of
Helen Willis, ca. 1740. John Gordon Gallery, New York, USA.
On the Web at
AllPosters.com. Kitten held on girl's lap under arm, black or
dark tabby with white spotting over most of body.
- Boucher, François. La toilette, 1742, on the
Web at CGFA.
Orange Abyssinian-type cat. Yes, the placement of the pussycat in the
painting is symbolic.
- Perronneau, Jean-Baptiste (1715?–1783). A Girl with a
Kitten, 1745. National Gallery, London. On the Web at
the National Gallery, London. Brown tabby kitten. Girl is
standing with kitten in front of her, with one hand on the kitten's
back the other holding one paw. It is not clear how the kitten is
- Troost, Cornelis. Joanna en de 'smousen'; 3de bedrijf, 5de
toneel uit het blijspel 'De Spilpenning of de verkwistende vrouw' van
Thomas Asselijn (Google translation: Joanna and the "griffon",
3rd Company, 5th stage in the comedy "The Spindle Medal or the
profligate woman" of Thomas Asselijn). Cat crouched under the cabinet
on the right. On the
- Gainsborough, Thomas. Artist's daughters with a cat,
1759–1761. National Gallery, London. On the Web at the
Art Renewal Center and at
the Web Gallery of Art. As the Painter's daughters with a
cat, on the Web at
CGFA and at
the National Gallery, London. The painting is unfinished and the
cat is only barely sketched in.
- Gainsborough, Thomas. Studies of a cat,
1765–1769. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On the Web at CGFA and at
the Web Gallery of Art. Tabby with white spotting covering most
of chest, belly, and hind legs.
- Wright of Derby, Joseph. Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by
Candlelight, c. 1768–70. On the
Olga's Gallery. Unhappy calico kitten. The girls wear
pseudo-17th century play dress.
- Welsh, E. (printmaker), Reynolds, Joshua after (painter).
Mrs. Baddely (assigned title), 1772. The Fitzwilliam
Museum, P.11244-R. On the Webat
the Fitzwilliam Museum. Creepily badly depicted black and white
kitten held by woman against her bosom.
- Lépicié, Nicolas-Bernard. Le Lever de
Fanchon, 1773. On the Web at Artyzm, at
the Bridgeman Art Library and at
AllPosters. Calico(?) cat on the floor by her foot, with white
head and neck and right hind leg.
- The fond parents. London : Printed for R. Sayer &
J. Bennett No. 53 Fleet Street as the act directs, 16 Sepr. 1776. The
Lewis Walpole Library, 766.09.16.01+. On the
the Lewis Walpole Digital Collection. Cat sleeps on mantlepiece.
- The Old Maid, published Nov. 17, 1777, by J. Walker,
No. 13, Parliament Street. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, LC-USZ62-47556, LC-USZ62-19364. On the
Web at the
Library of Congress. Black and white print, but looks like a
- Raspal, Antoine. Cuisine Provençal or
Intérieure de cuisine (Provencal
Kitchen or Kitchen Interior), around
1775–1780. On the Web at
kunst für alle and at
Art.com. White cat sits curled on cishion on chair at right.
- Zoffany, Johann. Sophie Dumergue, c.1780. On the
the Art Fund for UK Museums
the Bridgeman Art Library. Black and white kitten on lap, over
- Boucher, François, French, 1703–1770. Domestic
Scene: Mother with Two Small Children before a Mantelpiece, no
date. On the Web at
the Art Institute of Chicago. Indistinct.
Bonus: Cats in 17th Century Art
- Gheyn II, Jacques de, Two Witches with a Cat,
1600-10. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia. On the Web at
the Hermitage Museum. White(?) cat on woman's lap.
- Snyders, Frans. Hungry Cat with Still Life,
ca. 1615–1620. Staatliche Museum, Berlin, Germany. On the Web
Gallery. Brown tabby crouched on table with designs on dead fowl.
- Weenix, Jean Baptiste (Dutch, 1621–1660). Mother &
Child with Cat, 1647. Private collection, NY. On the Web at CGFA. Brown
tabby, perhaps with some white on the side of the head.
- Leyster Judith. A Boy and a Girl with a Cat and an
Eel, c. 1635. National Gallery, London. On the Web at Olga's
Gallery. Brown tabby kitten standing precariously on boy's lap
and over his arm, with girl grasping tip of tail.
- Visscher, Cornelis (Dutch, 1629–1662). The Large
Cat, c. 1657. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. On
the Web at the
National Gallery of Art. Tabby with distinct striping.
- Ryckaert, David, III (Ryckaert the Younger). Peasant Woman
with a Cat, 1640s. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
On the Web at
the Hermitage Museum. Black cat or kitten with white snout,
wrapped up in blanket, held like a baby, and being fed milk(?) by an
- Steen, Jan Havicksz. Kinderen leren een poes dansen, bekend
als 'de dansles' (Children Teaching a Cat to Dance, known
as 'The Dancing Lesson'), c. 1665-68. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
On the Web at
Rijksmuseum Research Database, Amsterdam. Brownish kitten,
possibly tabby, with white face, underside, and legs. Kitten (barely
recognizable as such) is being stretched upright by the front paws and
made to dance on a table by one of four torturous children.
Bonus: Cats in 16th Century Art
- Vermeyen, Jan (Dutch, 1500–1559). The Brindle
Cat, 1546. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. On the Web
Kitten-sized tabby with adult proportions.
Last updated 18 Feb 2014.
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