Sunday 6 July 2008

Cheshire cat art

Cheshire cat art is based on Lewis Carroll's fictional character in his book, "Alice in Wonderland". In the book the cat talked to Alice and sometimes baffled her with his philosophy. The Cheshire cat was is known for his grin, which occurred when he gradually disappeared. Apparently Lewis Carroll might have been thinking of a British Shorthair cat when he thought up the character as it is this breed of cat that is was on Cheshire Cheese packaging at the time. Cheshire is in the North of England. Cheshire cat is not a breed of cat.

British Short hair cat Cheshire cat
British Shorthair cat copyright Helmi Flick - Lewis Carroll based his character the Cheshire cat on this cat breed, it is thought.

"Please, would you tell me," said Alice, a little timidly, ... "why your cat grins like that?""It's a Cheshire cat," said the Duchess, "and that's why."

This cat is made for some cat art and there is plenty about at deviantART, where the following examples can be seen and lots more:

Cheshire Cat by ~OptimalProtocol on deviantART


Cheshire cat art
Cheshire cat art - image copyright ~Geyzerrr - this is published here under a permitted download from deviantART. The image has been reduced in size (dimensions) and file size (quality) to accommodate easy loading of this web page.

It is a picture for the artist's project "My Crazy Wonderland". The Cheshire cat represents a form of madness (although I am not sure that was the intention of Lewis Carroll - does someone know?). In the book the cat declares (jokingly it seems) that he is mad because he does things differently to a dog. Perhaps this is a comment on the world meaning that if you are different people treat you as mad.


Cheshire cat art
Cheshire cat art - image by ~Akira-Wishmaker

I like this image as it captures the slightly "mad" behavior of the cat and it is very colorful and for me artwork that demonstrates talent.


Cheshire cat art
Cheshire cat image is by ~Milezy The artist lives in the Philippines and is female. I suspect a lot of the artists are women.


My Cheshire Cat Tattoo by ~Body-Art on deviantART
I think it's fun to see the Cheshire cat turned into body art.


Another theory for the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat is that the Cheshire cheese in the area was cut into the shape of a cat that was grinning. The tail was cut and eaten first leaving the grinning head. This squares up with the book's description.

There are many stories on the inspiration for the Cheshire cat. Another theory is that the cats in Cheshire were content and therefore grinned as they had a lot of milk available, Cheshire being a dairy farm area. Cheshire is south east of Liverpool and north west of Stoke on Trent.

Top RHS picture is a Wikimedia commons image now copyright free. Thank you Wikipedia.

Cheshire cat art to Egyptian cat Art

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