Full Name:Louis William Wain

Date of Birth:5th August, 1860 at Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England

Mother:Julie Felicite Boiteux (1833-1910)

Father:William Mathew Wain (1825-1880)

Date of Death:4th July, 1939 at Napsbury, St Albans, Hertfordshire, England

Burial:St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green, London Borough of Brent, Greater London.

Date of Marriage: 30th January, 1884 at Hampstead

Spouse: Emily Mary Richardson (1850-1887)
(Emily was employed as governess to Louis's sisters, and was 10 years his senior. Upon their marriage, they moved to Hampstead Heath in North London.)

Children: None

  • Caroline Wain (1862-1917)
  • Josephine F.M. Wain (1864-1939)
  • Marie L. Wain (1867- 3 March 1913) (Missing from the 1901 Census as she was declared insane on 4 Mar 1901 and committed to Kent County Lunatic Asylum (renamed St Augustine's Hospital in 1948), Chartham Downs, Canterbury, Kent.)
  • Claire M. Wain (1868-1945)
  • Julie Felicie M. Wain (1871-1940)

  • Education:Orchard Street Foundation (in former Well Street chapel), Hackney;
    St Joseph's Academy, 7 Lee Terrace, Blackheath, London
    Attended West London School of Art, 1877, graduating in 1881. He also taught there for a few years.

    Health:Wain was declared insane in 1924 and committed to Springfield Hospital in Tooting (formerly known as Surrey County Insane Asylum - name changed during 1914-1918 war when treating shell-shocked soldiers.)
    (When it became known that he was in the paupers' ward, author H.G. Wells, Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald, and others arranged his transfer to The Middlesex County Asylum, Napsbury, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, where he remained until his death.)
    Career:Freelance Illustrator

    Committee:Chairman, National Cat Club, 1890-early 1900's (elected upon resignation of Harrison Weir)

    Cat Judge:National Cat Club

    Publisher:Published a series of 'Louis Wain's Annual", starting in 1901


    Wain's wife, Emily, sadly died of cancer in January of 1887. But prior to her death, Wain accidentally found the subject that would help define his career as an artist. During her illness Emily was comforted by their pet cat Peter (a Black and white stray kitten) which had been a rescue.

    As Emily's spirits were improved by playing with Peter, Louis began to do extensive drawings of him, which Emily strongly encouraged him to have published.

    Although Emily never got to see them published, the story of Peter was one of the first, and only the beginning of a long career drawing anthropomorphised cats, starting with an illustration entitled "The Kittens' Christmas Party" that appeared in The Illustrated London News in 1886.

    Wain worked as a freelance illustrator, for The Illustrated London News, The Graphic, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News and other popular periodicals. Along with Harrison Weir, he is listed was listed on the staff of The Illustrated London News when that paper celebrated its 50th Jubilee in May 1892.

    Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection and Karen Lawrence

    'Peter', English Illustrated Magazine, 1890

    Our Cats, 1903

    Boys Own, 1900

    Louis Wain's Annual

    Black & White magazine, January 25, 1902
    4th Annual Show of The Cat Club at Westminster

    The Sketch, July 18, 1900
    Cat owned by HRH Princess of Wales

    "Comfi" from Louis Wain's Annual, 1915

    1905 Catland Santa Claus
    Louis Wain Printing Version

    Louis Wain's Annual, 1911-1912

    "Thank Goodness They Are Not Mine"
    Louis Wain's Annual 1915

    1905 "Where the Good Cats Go To"
    attributed to Louis Wain

    June 1926, Gt. Malvern

    Diana and her Cat

    Where's That Bird?
    Original watercolor in Feline Historical Museum

    Original Louis Wain watercolor


    Books About Louis Wain:
  • Cat Compendium: The Worlds of Louis Wain, by Peter Haining, ed., Peter Owen Publishers, 2004
  • Cats in Books, by Rodney Dale, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997
  • Especially Cats; Louis Wain's Humorous Postcards, by Cynthia Christopher Delulio & Else Speedby Ross, 1985
  • Louis Wain; King of the Cat Artists, by Heather Latimer, Papyrus Publisheres, 1982
  • Louis Wain; The Man Who Drew Cats, by Rodney Dale, William Kimber and Co, Limited, 1968
  • Louis Wain's Edwardian Cats, Michael Parkin, Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1983
  • Catland, by Rodney Dale, Gerald Duckorth & Co. Ltd., 1977

  • Articles:
  • The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 106

  • The Bookman, Volumes 34-35

  • Cat Lover's Daily COmpanion

    Courtesy 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.