Sunday, October 10, 2010

Louis Wain: Two Interviews

There is something very pleasing about finding, buried in old Victorian periodical, the odd 'celebrity interview'. Short of reading the person's diary or a published collection of their letters, this is the closest to the person's self-expression that we are likely to get. It is true, certainly, that it's clear from the tone of the "speech" that their words were completely rewritten by the author of the pieces concerned, but I don't think that's so different from how things are today and we are used to 'reading through' the text to the person.

A long time ago now I published a collection of three interviews with the boys' authors, G. A. Henty, Manville Fenn, and Rider Haggard. Now I have found a couple of interviews with the still popular Louis Wain, patron saint of cats and anthropomorphic animals generally. Wain suffered from serious mental health issues and sadly, spent a great deal of his later life in and out of institutions. People have looked long and hard for clues to his mental illness in his artwork and the jury is still out I believe. There is little in these interviews to hint at trouble ahead beyond a rather quiet eccentricity.

If you would like a copy, they can be had from my website:

1 comment:

pennytristram said...

OOoohh! Art, cats, nostalgia and psychology all in a neat little package. I am very tempted. Definitely on my Santa list.

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