London: Blackie and Son Limited, 1917. Item #02771
Flying Fur, Caterwauling. and Cats on the Bandstand
WAIN, Louis. Cats at Play. London: Blackie and Son Limited, n.d. .
First edition. Folio (13 1/8 x 10 1/8 in; 334 x 258 mm). Twelve pages with one to two captioned scenes in color, inner covers illustrated in black and white.
Publisher's full color staple-bound pictorial wrappers. Oxidation at staples, light wear at edges and spine head, third gathering loose at two staples (of three). An excellent copy of a book that would normally have been destroyed by child.
A particularly difficult Wain title to find in any condition; here, in this condition, a miracle.
We have never seen another copy of this book in over 45 years…
At the end of the last century, Louis Wain (1860-1939), the Edwardian cat artist who went mad, became a household name as an illustrator of cats, whom he depicted in all sorts of activities, from skating and playing cricket to driving motor cars, attending dances, and playing musical instruments. “He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves” (H.G. Wells).
“From 1883, Wain began to draw cats as they had never been drawn before, cats in humorous guises, in human situations, but always beautifully handled…although he was sometimes forced to draw dogs before he became well-known!” (Houfe, The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914).
Footnote: Not to be confused with another book of the same title [WAIN, Louis. RACKHAM, Arthur. SMITH, H. Officer. GLADWIN, May, et al. Cats At Play. London: John F. Shaw, n.d. [c. 1900-1904]. This edition is unrecorded and scarce, with no copies in institutional holdings worldwide, and not noted in the Wain or Rackham bibliographies. Small quarto (9 5/8 x 7 1/8 in; 245 x 180 mm). 160 pp., with advertising as endpapers. Illustrated throughout in black and white and color, with fifteen drawings by Louis Wain, and an unrecorded text drawing by Arthur Rackham (so initialed) on page 40. (see DB 02471).