Original Watercolor - Sussex Barn Cat, 1846

Classification Artwork
Category Original Watercolor
Artifact Original Watercolour by Harrison William Weir.
Date 1846
Connection Harrison Weir - as Father of the Cat Fancy
Collection The Harrison Weir Collection
Description A large original signed and dated watercolour by Harrison Weir, in its original gold mount and frame, featuring the interior of a Sussex Barn, in which are found now rare Sussex Cattle, and an early representation of a Tortie Tabby Sussex Farm Cat.
Brief HistoryPainted in 1846, this is a rare early Harrison Weir piece, painted when he was only 22 years of age, showing his early mastery as a painter in watercolours and as an illustrator of animals. This piece remained in one family for at least three generations. It is now a key centrepiece of The Harrison Weir Collection's archive of this artist's original works.
AcquisitionPurchased for the Harrison Weir Collection, 2018

Photo: Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

Photo: John Smithson 2019

Photo: Helmi Flick.2019; Lighting: Ken Flick. 2019 (Note the barn cat; shown at bottom right).

Harrison Weir's career as an animal illustrator, which was in excess of 60 years, is without parallel.

As the author of Our Cats and All About Them (1889) and the writer of the earliest Standards for show cats, any images drawn by Weir featuring cats are considered of historical significance to cat fanciers worldwide; just as his images of Poultry and his written word on Poultry breeds are considered of exceptional historical value to breeders and judges of Poultry.

The image of a Sussex Barn cat, in this case a domestic Tortie Tabby, specifically from this painting dated 1846, is currently the earliest known rendition of a cat recorded from life, by this artist; being only a small portion of an extraordinarily well- executed watercolour, painted when the artist was only 22 years old. The painting predates Weir's decision to mount the first 'organised' cat show at the Crystal Palace in 1871 by 25 years. You can see the artists name and the year of execution on the front of the metal banded pail shown below. The colours are sound, and as vibrant in this piece as the day the painting was completed, which of itself, is exceptional for a piece already well over 170 years old!

It remains the aim of The Harrison Weir Collection, to continue to seek out and preserve as many original pieces of Weir's cat related art and renditions of other animals and birds as is humanly possible.

Photo: John G. Smithson. Archive of The Harrison Weir Collection.

Home | Cats | Gallery | Clubs | People | Artifacts | Articles | Updates | Contact Us

©The CFA Foundation, Inc and The Harrison Weir Collection
This project is a collaboration between The CFA Foundation, Inc. and The Harrison Weir Collection.
All material on this site is copyrighted and may not be printed or reproduced, in any form, without the express written consent of the collaborators.