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All bar one of his 15 offerings changed hands, and as well as pictures they included the copy of Days in Catland pictured right, a Father Tuck panorama that sold at £950. Published around 1900, (and re-issued in facsimile in 1991), this chromolitho illustrated work comprises a series of cut-out figures of cats that can be inserted, using tabs, into slots in the folding panorama of scenes from everyday cat life.

Two leather-bound volumes containing Louis Wain Annuals from the years 1909-14, brought a bid of £1500. Wain’s annuals, sometimes more than one of them, were issued every year from 1901-15, with the exception of 1904, and one last annual came out in 1921, but despite his phenomenal
success and prolific output, the eccentric and rather unworldly Wain simply could not manage his
financial affairs and was always short of money.

In 1907, having been sued for debt, he left for America and spent two years drawing comic strips for Hearst newspapers, but even there he took a financial wrong turn, investing and losing all of his money in a lamp that used virtually no oil.

Work was much harder to come by during WWII, but in any event Wain was beginning to succumb to mental illness, and in post-war years became convinced that his sisters were stealing his money and that spirits were filling his body with electricity. In 1924 he was certified insane, but went on drawing cats and lived until 1939.

Rodney Dale’s The Man Who Drew Cats is the standard reference on his life, but my information came from an article and bibliography on Wain by Kevin Nudd that appeared in the August 1992 issue of Book & Magazine Collector – an article that I initially consulted in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find a date for Days in Catland, but which instead provided an brief excursion into Catland.

Buyer’s premium: 15/10 per cent.