A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cat Majolica Fever

Let me tell you a little story.

My kitty's name is Bo. That's short for Boleyn.
This is the very first photo I took of her, the day I brought her home from the vet. She was about 8 months old.


She was born in the wild, in a crawlspace under the apartment building I was renting at the time. From my kitchen window I could look out and see her and her brother nursing with her mother. I'd watch the two of them play and followed their progress as they finally grew large enough to venture out of the crawlspace onto the lawn all on their own.

At first I tried to adopt her brother, a little black and white kitten I named Henry. I started feeding him from my window. His sister was shy and hid when I'd throw them food, only to come out to eat after I left, but Henry stood his ground and waited for me. He was such a brave little guy, so smart and feisty. I just fell in love with the little fella.

A neighbor succeeded in catching him and took him to a vet she worked with. I visited him there and while he hated being there I knew he needed a physical and his shots before I brought him home. I got a bed for him and a litter box and a bunch of different kinds of food for him to try when he got back. Unfortunately, that never happened. The day I was to go pick him up I got a call from the vet. There was some sort of mix-up and Henry had been euthanized instead. My heart was broken. Instead of bringing home a new kitten all I received was a container with his little ashes.

I had all this cat food left over so I started feeding the neighboring cats instead. Soon I found his shy sister's little head among those scrambling for food every night. The weeks passed and she soon let me pet her and pick her up while other cats wouldn't. I got very attached to her. When my landlord started killing the cats who lived in the crawlspace I took her in to save her. I gave her a home. That's when I named her Bo, in honor of her brother Henry.
I tell you all this to explain my strong bond to my little kitty, a bond that all cat "parents" have to some degree.

Knowing this it's easy to understand the amazing popularity of cat themed majolica.
There are few animal things made in majolica with a stronger collecting base, and the prices show it.












































Cat majolica is rare and highly sought after in the majolica community with some pieces, like the Minton cat pitcher, bringing astronomical prices at auction. I can't think of any majolica cat piece bringing less than any other animal related item, they actually tend to bring much more.

As for little Bo, four years later she's a sweet, lovable, healthy little cat and I don't regret adopting her for a second.

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