ORANGE BLOSSOM OF THORPE (1901)
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The 'Thorpe' Cattery of Mrs Slingsby, in Ouseburn, Yorkshire, was unequivocally, one of the most influential in the ongoing early development and success of the Blue Persian. Mrs Slingsby's singular devotion to improving both the type and the standard of the Blue is clear, and it is not unusual to find many an 'of Thorpe' affix attached to the names of one or indeed multiple forebears, in almost any Blue Persian pedigree of significance after the turn of the 19th/20th century. Many a fine stud male from this stable of cats has been both the foundation of another cattery, and the bloodline or combination of cats, the basis upon which successive line-breeding has been done, to emulate both the lead and successes of Mrs Slingsby. In many ways, her efforts to set the standard for Persians and to continue raising the bar as she reached one goal after another, have contributed hugely to the long term development and improvement of the breed, to a point where a clear consistency of quality was more easily reached. It is doubtful, whether any finer tribute can be paid to any breeder than to see and observe this both in physical fact and historically.
'Orange Blossom of Thorpe' was the first truly notable male from this stable of Blues, to make a significant impact on the growth and fortune of the Blue Persian. He was born on 19th April 1901, sired by Mrs Herbert Ransome's noted male 'Ch. DARIUS' and out of DAISY NITA OF THORPE. This combination brought together, the lines of Ch. Bundle (a great grandsire via Darius) and Ch. Glaucus, (a great grandsire via Daisy Nita).
'Orange Blossom' was also a popular choice for stud work amongst other breeders. When advertised at stud in the January 1903 issue of Our Cats, demand for his services was so high, that by August, Mrs Slingsby was compelled to publicly withdraw him from studwork in the August 1903 issue of Our Cats resting him until the following January3.
Starlight, Blue Darius, ACA 49, Blue | Eng Ch Fatima, Blue Orange Blossom of Thorpe,Apr-19-1901, Blue M | Beauty Pearl, Blue Daisy Nita of Thorpe, Blue Glaucus Nita, Blue
Being as he was, sired by Ch. DARIUS, he had a number of famous sire half-siblings. Most notable among these would have been the two Cream Persian males, 'Ch. Kew Laddie' and 'Ch. Kew Ronald', along with his Blue half-brother, 'Darius III' who was retained by Mrs Slingsby at Thorpe Hall.
Early Show wins listed in Cats: Show and Pet(1903) by C.A.House, include: "Winner of 1st and Championship, Bayswater, Botanic and Harrogate, 1902 and many other prizes2."
He was, in fact, the foundation of a veritable dynasty of Blues through his sons, grandsons and grand-daughters. Breeders line-bred upon him, either by directly doubling on him in their pedigrees or by doubling on his sons or his daughters or a combination of both.
Particularly popular sons were the Blues, CH. NEILA BILLI OF THORPE, born 27th March 1903, out of Barrymore Periwinkle (who brought to bear in her pedigree, the key lines of 'Ch. Wooloomooloo' and 'Ch. Perso'.) and CH. ZEUS OF THORPE, born 7th August 1903, out of 'Beattie', sired by 'Blue Boy II'.
In their turn, 'Ch. Neila Billi of Thorpe' sired a raft of influential Blues, including 'Ch. Bluecap of Thorpe', 'Sapphire of Castlethorpe'(aka Oaklands Sapphire), 'Vanity of Thorpe', 'Ch. Billy Button of Emberton', 'Gentian of Emberton' and 'Ch. Barry Bluejohn'. 'Zeus' sired 'Queen Mab of Thorpe', while his half-bother 'Neila Billi's' son 'Ch. Bluecap of Thorpe' himself sired such favourites as 'Ch. Blue Jacket of Hyver', 'Ch. Bungalow Turk's Cap of Hyver', and when coupled up with cousin, 'Queen Mab of Thorpe' produced the highly sought after 'Blue Lightning of Thorpe'.
So from the humble beginnings, with 'Orange Blossom' and with some thoughtful selections, Mrs Slingsby created the Thorpe dynasty of Blues, and a strain of cats that would carry some of the most sought after bloodlines for generations to follow.
ORANGE BLOSSOM'S PROGENY IN THE USA
Another blue son, CH. ANTHOS OF THORPE, born 7th September 1904, bred by Mr.s Douglas, and out of Oulton Flower Girl, was subsequently shipped to the United States, to Mrs. L.H. Bixby of Chicago, Illinois. 'Anthos' is registered in the ACA Stud Book, Vol.1 as No.160 under Rule 3.
Similarly, the same Mrs. Bixby appears to have imported an English Champion blue female, 'Regal Andromeda' early in 1904, already in kitten to 'Orange Blossom'. From this pairing, she is recorded as the breeder of a registered blue male ENGLEWOOD BELA, born 27th April, 1904. He is likewise recorded in the ACA Studbook , Vol.1 as No.146, with owner listed as Mrs. A.H. Baker, also of Chicago.
From this litter also, was born BLUECOAT REGINA, a blue female, registered in the USR, as entry 359, with Mrs. Bixby listed as both the breeder and owner. It is interesting to note that the dam, 'Regal Andromeda' is a grand-daughter of the great 'Moko'. A photo of this wee girl appears below, taken from the pages of the Unites States Register and Studbook (1906).
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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