Traditional white Persian cat -
This is a short post due to pressure of time. It is on the subject of four Arthur Heyer paintings of a dog Mucki and an Angora cat. I am speculating that the same dog in these four paintings are of Arthur Heyer’s bull dog, which he called “Mucki”. The name is interesting as it seems to be a modified English word, “mucky” meaning messy and we know that our canine and feline companions can at times be a little messy! Of course so can we.
There are, in fact, a number of additional paintings by Arthur Heyer of this dog, which supports my assessment that he kept a bulldog and white long haired cats. Either that or he received commissions to paint the dog at least four times by the same person. I prefer the former assessment.
The cat in each painting is quite probably the same as well; a white long haired cat, the precursor to the Persian cat (now a traditional Persian cat) and at the time called an Angora cat. Actually, in speculating again (dangerous thing to do!) it seems that Mr Heyer painted a young Angora cat in the lower of these four paintings and then the same cat as an adult in the upper picture (the four pictures immediately below are thumbnails by the way).
There almost seems to be an historical record of the passing of the years as the cat grew up from kitten to cat.
For that reason I favour the idea that this cat (if it is one cat) lived with Arthur Heyer and that this is his home that he is painting. He appears to have documented his cat and dog. Here is another painting of a white Persian cat with a kitten. This could possibly be the same cat having given birth to kittens (2 kittens are shown in another painting):
We don’t know the exact dates when these paintings were completed but Heyer lived between 1872 and 1931 (he died in Budapest). He was 59 years old. Heyer was born in Germany and moved to Hungry in 1896.
The period of his life was the exact time that the cat fancy in Britain was born. Which may explain why it seems that the gorgeous white cat in his earlier paintings is called an “Angora” and a “Persian” in later paintings. This seems to reflect the development of the Persian cat (the most popular cat breed of that era as it was very exotic) in the early years of the cat fancy. I am guessing that Heyer spoke English (judging by his dog’s name) and loved animals (because he painted animals a lot). As a result, he probably had a knowledge of the British cat fancy, the first in the world.
Above is a drawing of a Persian cat from the early 1900s. This cat is very traditional (obviously) and not at all cobby (stocky). The objective of modern day breeders is to breed a cobby rounded cat with very long hair and a flat face (it is like breeding for a round face to match the body and overshooting the mark and leaving one side flat – quite a different animal altogether).
Arthur Heyer paintings of a dog Mucki and an Angora cat – Photos are all in the public domain due to lapse of time.