Before Cat Memes, There Were Louis Wain’s Controversial Cat Illustrations

‘…just as today’s cat lovers flood the internet with anthromorphized felines, Victorian-era Englanders also found representations of the pets to obsess over—namely, the cats drawn by prolific illustrator Louis Wain, whose cartoonish animals populated the era’s magazines, children’s books, and postcards. During Wain’s life, though, his fortunes reversed several times. Believed to be suffering from schizophrenia, Wain lived his final years in institutions. Eight of his cat drawings—which range from cuddly to psychedelic—came to be known as the “Famous Series” and for years would be offered up as a the stages of a deteriorating mind, illustrated. But the truth is a bit more complicated….’

Source: Atlas Obscura