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.
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.