If you’re a cat person, even highbrow culture can be improved upon—so long as you add whiskers and a tail.
That seemed to be the personal motto of late English artist Susan Herbert (1945-2014), who gained international acclaim for her hyper-realistic paintings of sophisticated felines. Herbert’s watercolors portray tabbies and tomcats alike posing and prancing their way through scenes borrowed from famous works of film, art, opera, ballet, and literature. Feline Hamlet? Check. Tuxedo cat-with-cigar as Charlie Chaplin? Check. A furry Venus ascending from a clamshell in a surprisingly dignified reinterpretation of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus? Check.
A year after Herbert’s death, Thames and Hudson will publish Cats Galore: A Compendium of Cultured Cats. The volume culls images from four of Herbert’s previous compilations—Pre-Raphaelite Cats, Shakespeare Cats, Movie Cats, and Opera Cats—and groups them by section, based on whether the kitties are on-stage, on-screen, or on-canvas stars.
Cats Galore: A Compendium of Cultured Cats will be available for purchase on September 8, 2015. The book includes 326 illustrations and is $24.95. You can preorder on Amazon now.