Cats in History – Meet the Cats of the National Trust

Paul Tanqueray, Elinor Sutherland, Mrs Elinor Glyn (1864-1943) with her two cats 'Candide' and 'Zadig' at Montacute House, Somerset.

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Meet the Cats of the National Trust

From Sir Winston Churchill and Thomas Hardy, to Betty Hussey, who left her cat – alongside along with her home – to the National Trust: we meet a few of the fabulous felines that reigned in these stately houses and the individuals who liked them.

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Chartwell, Kent: Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill and his spouse Clementine owned many a cat – and never all of them well-behaved. One day, his tabby, Mickey, began enjoying with a phone wire whereas Churchill was on the telephone to his Lord Chancellor. ‘Get off the road, you idiot!’ exclaimed Winston, earlier than rapidly assuring the Chancellor, ‘Not you!’.

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Perhaps essentially the most well-known of Churchill’s cats was Jock, an 88th birthday reward. The marmalade, who had 4 white paws and a white bib, turned a lot part of life at Chartwell that when the home handed to the National Trust, Churchill’s household requested {that a} marmalade cat with the identical white markings all the time be in ‘snug residence’. The Trust honours this request and the present incumbent is Jock VI.

Max Gate, Dorset: Thomas Hardy

From Comfy and Kitsey to Kiddleywinkempoops (‘Trot’ for brief), the author Thomas Hardy and his spouse, Emma, owned at the least 9 cats whereas residing at Max Gate. Others included Pella, who met her unlucky finish by the hands of a practice, and Cobby, a blue Persian rumoured to have disappeared and not using a hint after Thomas’s loss of life in 1928.

The couple adored their pets, inviting them to mealtimes no matter whether or not they had human visitors. Many are commemorated with ivy-covered gravestones in Max Gate’s backyard and one, Snowdove, was even posthumously the topic of Hardy’s mournful 1904 poem, ‘Last Words to a Dumb Friend’.

Montacute, Somerset: Elinor Glyn

In 1907, the romantic novelist Elinor Glyn launched into a passionate affair with Lord Curzon. In 1911, Curzon leased Montacute House, which had fallen into disrepair, and invited Elinor to stay with him. For 18 months she endured freezing temperatures to assist knock Montacute into form. Curzon repaid her with an engagement announcement in The Times – to a different girl. Elinor left Montacute and by no means spoke to him once more.

Paul Tanqueray, Elinor Sutherland, Mrs Elinor Glyn (1864-1943) with her two cats 'Candide' and 'Zadig' at Montacute House, Somerset.
© National Trust / James Dobson

Glamorous Elinor was dedicated to her two fluffy cats, Candide and Zadig. In March 1939, when attending a literary lunch as a visitor speaker, she even wore, ‘with wonderful panache, her enormous Persian cat, Candide, asleep round her neck’ (Anthony Glyn, 1955).  According to Anthony, the cats had been ‘lovely, proud, impartial creatures … in some ways very like their mistress’.

Scotney Castle, Kent: Betty Hussey

In the grounds of fourteenth-century Scotney Castle is a fountain. On one edge, a stone cat lies with its paw dangling over the facet, lazily trying to catch a fish.

The fountain was commissioned by Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Hussey. Since shifting to Scotney in 1952, Betty had all the time owned a Burmese cat, every one named Minou (French for ‘kitty’). The similar title is engraved on to the collar of the statue, which she had created for her ninetieth birthday and funded by promoting a few of her jewelry.

Oil painting on canvas, Elizabeth (Betty) Kerr-Smiley, Mrs Christopher Hussey (1907-2006) in Middle Age by John Ward, RA (Hereford 1917 - 2007), signed in brown at the bottom left: J Ward '65' [1965]. A three-quarter length portrait, seated slightly to right, looking out, gazing at the spectator, in a green sofa with two embroidered cushions, and with japanned etagere behind her, a black cat in her lap, looking out; wearing blue dress, plum-coloured cardigan over her shoulders, and single-row pearl necklace. Mid brown hair, and green eyes.
© National Trust / Charles Thomas

The insides of Scotney are additionally bursting with Betty’s feline trinkets and work. And the Trust didn’t simply inherit inanimate objects: Betty requested if she may go away her remaining cat, a tortoiseshell named Puss, at Scotney of their care. The Trust agreed, taking care of Puss after Betty handed away in 2006. Puss just about had the run of the home, although they did must make just a few changes – together with eradicating her meals bowl and basket from the highest of the piano.

Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton: Rosalie, Lady Mander

Rosalie, Lady Mander met Ricardo of Pimlico (or Ricky), at Pimlico Tube Station. He was a stray cat and she or he adopted him. The two travelled collectively from Lady Mander’s London flat to her William Morris-filled dwelling, Wightwick Manor, sharing a ham sandwich on the practice (she had the bread, he the ham).

Black and white photograph portrait of Lady Mander seated on bench in the gardens at Wightwick, holding cat. Glazed in moulded gilt frame.
© National Trust / Sophia Farley and Claire Reeves

Ricky wasn’t Lady Mander’s solely cat. Miss Tabby Cat acquired a dedication in Rosalie’s 1981 anthology of feline-focused writings, CATegories: ‘Without whom sitting Sphinx-like on the desk or enjoying “with sportive grace”, kittenish on the keys, this guide would have been completed a lot sooner.’

Discover extra aristo-cats previous and current in Cats of the National Trust (£9.99, National Trust Books), out now!

The put up Cats in History – Meet the Cats of the National Trust appeared first on Katzenworld.

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