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Cats In Film & TV

OMG! 19th Century Cat Memes!

Did you think those funny cat memes and lolcats were a product of the modern age? Think again! It turns out Harry Pointer, a photographer from the UK in the 1870’s, was the first person on record to pose his pet cats in all sorts of silly poses and take their photos.

From PhotoHistory-Sussex:

Pointer began by taking conventional  photographs of cats resting, drinking milk or sleeping in a basket, but from around 1870 he specialised in photographing cats in a variety of poses, placing his cats in settings that would create a humorous or appealing picture. Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked human activities – a cat riding a tricycle, cats roller-skating and even a cat taking a photograph with a camera. Harry Pointer soon realised that even a relatively straight-forward cat photograph could be turned into an amusing or appealing image by adding a written caption. Pointer increased the commercial potential of his cat pictures by  adding a written greeting such as “A Happy New Year” or “Very many happy returns of the day“. Purchasers sent the small cartes-de-visite as tiny greetings cards, thereby publicizing Pointer’s distinctive cat photographs. By 1872, Harry Pointer had created over one hundred different captioned images of cats. Harry Pointer’s series of cat photographs were collectively known as “The Brighton Cats“. The Photographic News reported that, by 1884, Pointer had published about two hundred pictures in “The Brighton Cats” series.

Check out Harry Pointer’s 19th Century Cat Memes:
Pointers PetsA portrait of the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer with three of his cats, a carte-de-visite photographed at Harry Pointer’s photographic studio in Bloomsbury Place, Brighton around 1880.

Rinking at Brighton

“Rinking at Brighton”, a photograph of cats roller-skating pictured on a carte from ‘The Brighton Cats’ series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton.

 

Miss Tabbie at the Rink

“Miss Tabbie at the Rink”, a photograph of a single cat roller-skating pictured on a carte from ‘The Brighton Cats’ series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton.

Two Cats in a Basket

Two cats in a basket, a carte from ‘The Brighton Cats’ series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting “A Happy New Year”.

 

Five o'clock Tea

“Five o’clock Tea”, a carte from ‘The Brighton Cats’ series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton.

 

A Happy New Year

A cat sitting on a tricycle, a carte from ‘The Brighton Cats’ series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting “A Happy New Year”.

 

The Photographer

“The Photographer”, a carte from ‘The Brighton Cats’ series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton.

1 Comment

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