The Cheshire cat mug is based on the well known grinning tabby cat in the Lewis Carroll’s story, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Was this cat a ginger (red) tabby? My recollections are that it was but this idea may have come from subsequent spin offs from the book. This cat is certainly a tabby cat because of the stripes. It may have been a mackerel tabby (“mackerel tabby” is named after the stripes on the back of the mackerel fish).
Why is this cat grinning so much in a slightly sinister way? When Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, the saying “to grin like a Cheshire cat” was apparently in use. So from where did it originate? We don’t know for sure it seems.
By the way, Cheshire is a county in England (see map) where the inhabitants produce a type of cheese called, Cheshire cheese. At one time these cheeses were molded in the shape of a grinning cat. That may be a possible explanation of the origin of the phrase “to grin like a Cheshire cat”1.
Below are some nice Cheshire cat mugs. There are four Cheshire cat mugs, one strange cup and saucer and one book that might explain what the Cheshire cat is all about! On the back cover of the book it asks “should the Cheshire Cat’s grin make us reconsider the nature of reality?” Lewis Carroll might have been asking some philosophical questions in his famous book.
The above version – one of the originals – is on two of the mugs in the carousel.
Image of Cheshire Cat heading this page – this is a Wikimedia image. I adopt the arguments of the author of the image in respect of the publishing of this image under fair use.
The picture of the drawing of the Cheshire cat at the base of the page is in the public domain.