Louis Wain

LOUIS WAIN (1860–1939) was an English artist, best remembered for his sketches of large-eyed anthropomorphic cats which led him to be dubbed ‘the Hogarth of cat life’. Wain was a celebrity who sold thousands of drawings and paintings to an insatiable public, creating the Louis Wain Annual series and the first ever animated cat character, later acknowledged as the inspiration for Mickey Mouse. But after he lost his fortune, he lost his mind. He ended up in a provincial asylum, sketching psychedelic cats that were more fiend-like than feline. When his fate was discovered in 1925, the Royal Family and the Prime Minister joined a national campaign to rescue Wain. The artist never entirely recovered his health, but was eventually moved to a better home, where he continued to draw and paint almost until his death in 1939.

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