For people who love cats



This seems to be a week and a bit of pets, doesn’t it?  The photo above is a postcard of the Edwardian actress and music hall singer, Ellaline Terriss, when she was young, holding a kitten. I’ve put a YouTube video below in you can hear her singing with her husband Seymour Hicks. The accompanying video is apparently from a silent Pathe short frm 1922. In it, you can see the same photo from the postcard I have. Here’s a tip: if you’re ever tempted to collect these types of cards, shop around before you buy as some people sell them for silly amounts of money and you can usually find them cheaper. (I know, because I’ve fallen for it myself, before!)

Below is another postcard, this time of an unknown child,  also holding a kitten. Odd how both kits are tabbies. Is it that it’s the type of cat that most elicits a positive emotional response from the viewer? Myself, I get emotional over any kitten, regardless of breed!


I’ve deliberately coloured this photo a little differently from usual. I wanted to retain the semi-monotone tint while adding some skin colour, so I’ve made it warmer than the original, but haven’t given it as wide a range of hues as I usually do.

The lower part of these faded-out photos are always a problem, as the fade-out is deliberate on the part of the photographer and they are sometimes very clumsily done (in our modern terms, anyway. Probably not, then). So, while I’ve added a little of the missing body of the kitten, I’ve only given it a a small amount of definition.

The kitten’s eyes were a bit of a problem, as the one in shadow looked like it was an entirely different colour, so what I’ve done is partially desaturate that one. And – while doing this, it occurred to me to check the colour of a kitten’s eyes and I’m glad I did. Did you know that kittens often don’t have the eye colour of adult cats? I’ve never noticed before, but it explains why, apart from clearly blue-eyed ones such as siamese, most kitten photos I’ve seen the kits have had bluey-grey eyes. (Then, of course, in my version above, with the overall tint, they probably don’t look that colour at all!)

Which of these photos do you like best, Ellaline or the child? I like Ellaline for her beautiful smile, and the lower one for the look of innocence. And I love the kitten in the lower one, it seems to alert!

By the way, the colour in the Ellaline Terriss one is a hand-tint (not by me) and it is stunning in the original. Apart from a bit of a blob on her shoulder, it’s quite perfect. The kitten has been tinted, her hair has, the fabric she’s wearing, her skin – just lovely. I was toying with the idea of leaving as it was but I don’t think my colourings detract from the originals as you have them both to choose from, and you can enjoy whichever you prefer.

Oh, and one final point. You might notice that the postcard says ‘Miss Ellaline Terriss’. ‘Miss’ was a courtesy in those days, but if you look closely, you’ll see she is wearing a wedding ring!

14 thoughts on “For people who love cats

  1. I prefer the photo of Elleline. Her hairstyle looks a bit 90-ish, but I am familiar with the curly long hair style of the 20’s. The one bare shoulder garment on the child was fairly common as well for formal photographs.. I guess she is supposed to be an angel? I think the girl and the cat are looking at the same thing. I wonder if the song in the video was in the top 10?! The cat eyes are well done. You are right about buying old pictures and cards. The same card can range from very cheap to outrageous. The cards and photos here that fetch a premium are photos from the 1880’s or so depicting scenes and people from the old American West. They are too rich for my blood, but very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was (may still be) a guy on Flickr who posted photos of his family from the American west in the 1880s or thereabouts. I found them fascinating and remember talking to him about whether something in a photo was a dustball or a dog in motion! If it weren’t for the customs charge (which can run quite high) and then the charge that our postal service slaps on top of that, I’d love to buy some vintage American photos and cards. One day, maybe.

      I don’t know if the child’s meant to be an angel, I have a card with a child wearing angel wings so that one’s more obvious. There seemed to be a romanticism about children with so many in these cards.

      Haha – don’t think the top ten came along til the mid 1950s, but you never know! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The reason you see so many of them is that mackerel (striped) tabby is the “default” color in of your common or garden variety moggies. I think I like the little girl best. She reminds me of a picture of my aunt when she was about 3 (but without a cat). It would have been taken around 1910. The cat Ellaline is holding is not a kitten. You can tell by the proportion of ears to the size of its head. It’s probably about half grown. Young kittens have huge ears in relation to the size of their heads. All kittens are born with blue eyes, but they change to whatever color they will have as adults by about 6-7 weeks old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to refer to young cats as kittens, maybe it’s a British thing? I’m glad the little girl reminds you of your aunt.

      When I was a child (before my allergies to cats and dogs were discovered) we had a cat – it belonged to my mother – and it was a black and white and I remember some tabby kittens, one of which my grandmother adopted (beautiful cat), but most of the kits were black or black and white so I wouldn’t automatically have thought of tabbies as the ‘default’ colour. Also black cats are/were always a more common sight in London where I grew up. But you might be right. I’m not an expert on pussycats! 🙂


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