FRIDAY ART CAT – Kathleen Hale’s Orlando

FRIDAY ART CAT – Kathleen Hale’s Orlando

Do you recognise these cats, or at least the distinctive style of the cats pictured?

It’s by Kathleen Hale (1898-2000) an English lithographer and author.  She created Orlando the Marmalade Cat, who lived a halcyon life with his tortoiseshell wife Grace and three kittens on the pages of nineteen story books for – and perhaps wasted on – children.

I grew up with a copy of “Orlando Keeps a Dog” which the above is taken from, and I’ve been trying to complete the set for my daughter ever since.

Her anthropomorphic style, with the cats walking upright sometimes and some even wearing clothes  enchanted me as a child.  The art she created though was truly exquisite.  She was one of the pioneers of lithography at the time, working for months on end on her books, with a limited palette of four colours to save on printing costs.

My quick sketch of my Orlando (ginger Maine Coon) in a similar style.

Further reading : Her autobiography, “A Slender Reputation”, is a fascinating read and tells of her times working for Augustus John, and mixing with the likes of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Sara Day

I am an artist who makes work of animals and people.

Three cats live with me – Maine coon Orlando, Bengal Pandora and black moggy Rio.

Commissions welcomed.

Instagram: Sardine.Art

www.day-san.co.uk

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7 thoughts on “FRIDAY ART CAT – Kathleen Hale’s Orlando

  1. I loved the Orlando books when I was little. The illustrations were marvellous.

    About 20 years ago some were reprinted, I think. After never having seen any for ages there were copies in a children’s bookshop and I bought one for my little (as she was then) niece.

    Later I went back to the shop looking for more, but they said they’d sold out and were very difficult to get hold of.

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