Happy Days – Louis Wain and a magic lantern show

identifier: 2014067 HAPPY DAYS MAGIC LANTERN

H. G. Wells said of Louis Wain, “He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.”

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Happy Days. Stories and pictures for little folk. Blackie & Son Ltd, London and Glasgow. n.d. [c.1919]. 24 pages, plus illustrated endpapers. Size 200 x 260mm. Features an illustration of THE MAGIC LANTERN ENTERTAINMENT by Louis Wain. The artist (1860-1939) needs little introduction – his work featuring anthropomorphised cats being famous. He illustrated more than 100 children’s books as well as postcards, prints and greetings cards, and continued drawing for many years while in mental hospitals.

This book is featured on NeverSeen because of the collectable theme of the subject matter of this double-page colour spread, a magic lantern show. I’m aware of another magic lantern show picture featuring Louis Wain’s cats, which was reproduced in the New Magic Lantern Journal Vol.2 No.1 in 1983 – without a reference to the original source, which was The Sketch, 14 March 1894. Happy Days is not widely held in institutional libraries, and is scarce in good condition.

Condition: Very good. Slight bowing of the boards, wear to board edges, and a name in the “Belongs to” box.

Price: £45.00 plus postage.       s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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