Historical information

The picture postcard is illustrated in a simple, child-like manner. It has a personal message on the back, perhaps sent by an adult called Lily to a young relative or friend. Its rough edges indicate that it may have been torn out of a book or from a sheet of cards. It is one of the hundreds of illustrations by artist Louis Wain, quoted as being "one of the most popular commercial illustrators in the history of England" (IllustrationChronicles.com).

English artist Louis Wain (1860-1939) was famous for his illustrations of cats, many of which he gave human characteristics and personalities. Wain married Emily. They owned a cat called Peter who was a great comfort to Emily through her cancer illness and consequent death after only a few years of marriage.

At 22 years old Wain gave up his job as a teacher to work full time as an illustrator. He was able to produce hundreds of drawing a year for journals, books, postcards and advertisements. Later he wrote and illustrated children's books. However he didn't benefit much from copyrighting his work as he sold his work to publishers together with the copyright, so reproductions of his works didn't earn him money.

Wain said that he owned his career as a cat artist to Peter. Wain spent over a decade in mental asylums before his death in 1939.


This picture postcard is an example of the work of Louis Wain, English artist of the 19th and early 20th century. He is famous for his drawings of cats, which he continued producing throughout his life. He is also known for producing the world's first screen cartoon cat, called "Pussyfoot". In 1972 Wain's work was presented at an exhibition in the Victorian and Albert Museum.

Physical description

Rectangular picture postcard printed on think cream card. Picture on postcard is outlined in black and coloured in roughly painted watercolours. The drawing has two cats dressed in armour standing and fighting in front of a turreted castle. The picture is a black framed outline. The artist's printed signature is in the bottom left corner. The artist is Louis Wain. The reverse has a vertical dividing line and a square outline for a postage stamp's location. It also has printed headings. There is a handwritten Pencil inscription.
The postcard's left side and lower edge have rough uneven edges.

Inscriptions & markings

Signature: "Louis Wain."
Handwritten on back: "To Dr R - - - - - - / with love / from Lilly"